UNC changing campus development plan

The following is an announcement I got this weekend from Linda Convissor in UNC's Local Relations department. The Development Plan was a 300+ page document outlining the next 10 years of development on campus. Under the terms of the OI-4 zone created in 2001 for UNC, the University submits these plans to the town in return for the removal of a cap that had limited them to 14 million square feet on development on the main campus.

Under the terms of OI-4, the Town will have 4 months to review and approve the plan modifications, which range into hundreds of pages, plus maps, and the inevitable corrections and clarifications.

Dear Friends and Neighbors:

On Wednesday, September 13, 2006, the Town of Chapel Hill will hold a public information meeting on the University's application to amend its campus Development Plan. The meeting will be at 5 p.m. at the Chapel Hill Town Hall. The Town has mailed notice to property owners within 1,000 feet of campus.

The public information meeting is an informal opportunity to learn about the application. University staff will present the proposal and there will be a chance for questions and discussion.

After the public information meeting, the Town's advisory boards will review the proposal. A public hearing by the Town Council will follow the advisory board meetings.

A list of the projects is below. You'll note several new projects while others are revisions to projects the Town has previously approved. The projects include pedestrian improvements, academic, research and office buildings, infrastructure and athletic facilities. There are three parking deck proposals that shift spaces but do not add any additional spaces beyond what the Town has previously approved.

After the public information meeting, additional details of the projects will be posted at www.unc.edu/community .

Please note that the Development Plan is for the main campus and does not include Carolina North.

As always, please feel free to contact me if you would like more information. We know there is great community interest in campus development and look forward to sharing this information as broadly as possible.

Please forward this email to others who may be interested, especially if you are a contact person for your neighborhood or community group.

Best,

Linda

Projects in Development Plan Modification 3:

1. Grounds Facility: 48,000 square foot building near Odum Village.
2. Boshamer Stadium: add 25,000 sq ft near Ridge Rd.
3. Law School: addition to the Law School near Ridge Road.
4. Arts Common: modify previously approved bldg height near S Columbia St.
5. Medical Office Building: 180,000 square foot building near N. Medical Dr.
6. Tennis/Parking Deck: 231 space deck with tennis courts near Skipper Bowles Dr.
7. UNC Imaging Center: 330,000 square foot building near Lineberger Cancer Center.
8. Reclaimed Water Tank: water storage facility south of Manning Steam Plant.
9. School of Information & Library Sciences: 125,000 sq ft bldg south of Blythe Dr.
10. Dental Science Building: demolish bldg & add 175,000 sq ft near S. Columbia St.
11. Bell Tower/Academic Building & R-1, 2, 3: reconfigure Research Bldgs 1, 2, 3, add 80,000 square ft. building, and add pedestrian bridge near Bell Tower.
12. Chiller Building: relocate existing chiller near Bell Tower.
13. Bell Tower Parking Deck: reduce parking by 890 spaces.
14. Replace Davie Hall: demolish and replace with 75,000 sq ft building near Coker Arboretum.
15. Craige Parking Deck: add two levels - 990 parking spaces south of Manning Drive.
16. Alumni Center: add 12,000 square feet near Stadium Drive.
17. Kenan Stadium: add 8,804 seats and 125,000 square feet.
18. Carolina Inn: add 15,000 square feet near S. Columbia St. and South Rd.

Linda Convissor
Director of Local Relations
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Linda_Convissor@unc.edu
919-962-9245

Development Plan modifications are now supposed to go through a "concept plan" review for the Town Council, which does not start the clock ticking on the Town's review process. The Council appears to have seen a concept plan last April.

It seems (from this page) that this Modification was submitted on June 10th, which would mean the Town review would be due October 10th! I hope UNC will make it a high priority to update their website with the information on these changes. Four months is less than the Town usually spends reviewing projects with much less impact on the community, so it can really help to get all eyes on deck asking questions and making sugegstions.

Issues: 

Total votes: 167

Comments

Ruby,
Thanks for posting my email. I can help a little with the dates of upcoming meetings. Besides the Public Information Meeting Wednesday, we expect the Planning Board to see it on October 3 and the Council to hold their public hearing on November 13.

We plan to post the presentation from the public information meeting and the hand-out summarizing the projects on the community web site - I hope we can have them up either Wednesday or Thursday.

And if anyone wants to call or email me with questions, I'm at Linda_Convissor@unc.edu or 962-9245.

Linda

Linda, are you sure of "Kenan Stadium: add 8,804 seats and 125,000 square feet" will be enough? Just joking....though I am concerned about the escalating athletic expenditures sans other fiscal improvements - like "living wages" for staff and health care accessibility.

I don't have my notes from Spring in front of me, but it appears this list is slightly different from that earlier proposal. Is it?

Any expansion of Kenan Stadium, Carolina Inn or other revenue generating facility is not paid for through funds that would otherwise be used for salaries, tuition, benefits, etc.

Will,
There is one new project that's been added since the application - the Law School addition. Other than that, the proposal is the same.

To make the lists consistent for the campus neighbors who received both the official notice letter from the Town and my email, I listed the projects as the Town did in the letter. That sequence is different than how they appeared in the June application - that might be why it seems different.

Linda

For shame, Mr. Raymond. Let me tell you, the University of North Carolina _Fightin'_ Tar Heels are going to need those 8,804 seats! There's a lot goin' on at Kenan Stadium, and fans are going to want to be there; who doesn't want to know whether UNC can manage to throw twice as many interceptions as touchdown passes this year?

Youch, Chris! And I thought the recent spate of DTH "interception" LTE's were harsh ;-)

TerriB, it's a matter of leadership not financing (though we taxpayers usually end up paying one way or another...).

Imagine UNC Athletics setting up a $200/platinum-plate catered buffet just beyond the reach of a starving mass of $200/week TA's - wouldn't that be cruel distortion of priorities?

Will,
Having a great university is a balance of many things, including athletics. As I write, the speakers at The Politics of Inclusion conference are trying to find solutions for how to make higher education more accessible. They were invited here because this is a core value at Carolina. You can find some of the proceedings at http://www.unc.edu/inclusion/ and I expect there will be plenty of national coverage as well, especially in the higher education publications.

Athletics is important to Carolina but so is our ground-breaking commitment to making education accessible through the Carolina Covenant http://www.unc.edu/carolinacovenant/ and providing national leadership on this issue. It should be a source of pride and inspiration for all of us.

I wasn't aiming to get us off the thread of bricks and mortar but their importance is best viewed in light of the values we aspire to. 100 percent of our logo sales now go to scholarships - need based and merit - so if those 8800 people each buy a t-shirt, they are doing more than supporting a football team.

Linda

Linda, I appreciate UNC's Covenant program, the recent steps to deal with healthcare and educational accessibility, but, come on, athletics on the same playing field as the NC Constitutionally mandated charge to crank out educated citizens?

So the funds for Kenan's upgrade don't come directly from the taxpayer - what about the cost of sustainment for both the physical and athletic infrastructure surrounding our football program? This isn't, quite literally, a zero-sum game.

And %100 of the logo sales doesn't mean %100 return-on-investment. Seriously, just how much has it cost to build the brand behind the logos?

What part of that was borne by NC's taxpayers?

WillR,

Although I agree with most of your positions/arguments in this thread, you can't lay all the blame on the UNC administrators. After all, how much gasoline is used and how much pollution generated by Chapel Hill/Carrboro/Orange County parents ferrying their kids around to soccer practices, pee-wee football practices, etc. The fact is that Americans, as a society, have become so sports-oriented that it is difficult for any university to ignore what their alumni want. I'm just thankful that I was fortunate enough to attend a small liberal arts college where the second-most popular spectator sport (behind football) was a club sport (rugby) that was self-financed.

"So the funds for Kenan's upgrade don't come directly from the taxpayer - what about the cost of sustainment for both the physical and athletic infrastructure surrounding our football program? This isn't, quite literally, a zero-sum game."

I'm not sure what you mean by a zero-sum game, but the 'cost of sustainment for both the physical and athletic infrastructure' for all sports teams is born through revenues and booster funds. State allocations do not pay any portion of maintenance or utilities--not for Kenan, not for the Dean Dome, and not for the tennis complex.

Terri, I'm afraid you're incorrect.

For instance, I noticed this tidbit when researching Jack Evans history at UNC,

One variation from the concept of Institution Self-Study Instrument Report - North Carolina Governance and Commitment to Rules Compliance self-sufficiency should be noted. The Dean E. Smith Student Activities Center is used for a number of non-athletics activities in addition to its use for basketball games. These additional activities include many University activities (e.g., major speakers and ceremonies) that do not produce revenue. Appropriated funds from the State cover a portion of the operating expenses of the Smith Center. These funds are received by the University and reduce the amount that the Department would otherwise have to allocate to cover the operating expenses of the Smith Center.

http://graphics.fansonly.com/photos/schools/unc/genrel/auto_pdf/certific...

But that's not all... Not including road, sidewalk, parking improvements targeted for the Smith Center/Kenan Stadium areas, we still have state related planned expenditures on lighting, HVAC, etc. (some which are incidental as they apply to the natatorium).

If you remember the discussions on athletic event signage, one of the issues was the athletic scholarship fund wasn't being funded adequately because of other financial demands (and deteriorating revenues). I believe during that discussion it came out that the football program barely broke even - that the "winning" basketball program was the real cash cow.

But this is all incidental to my main point - which is that building additions to Kenan Stadium, whatever the funding source, looks bad when there's iniquity in the pay structure or tuition rises at a rate that might be un-Constitutional or that basic maintenance on existing infrastructure goes undone.

Of course, the same argument could be made for this year's $406K capital allocation for Carolina North,

or the $208K per year salary for UNC's CN point man Evans.

Will--I'm really swamped right now and don't have time to debate this issue with you. However, building costs, from construction to maintenance to utilities, for athletic buildings are paid for through receipts. If the campus uses the facility for administrative or instructional purposes, fees are charged to the department using the facility.

In a couple of weeks if this is still of interest to you, I'll figure out how infrastructure charges are allocated. I imagine there is some fee within each capital project to cover road upgrades, etc., but I don't know for sure.

You would be debating the wrong point, so let's end it here...

I think the road improvements around the Smith Center was paid for with state transportian money; ie. gas taxes. The people who drive to the Smith Center paid for the roads they drive on. The Center does get a subsidy from the legislature though. I've heard differant numbers ranging from $400k/year up to a million. Besides winter graduation, I can't think of any university events that take place there. Back in '93 I saw Spike Lee speak there. That's the only major speaker I can recall.

I guess you could say that money is ill spent. On the other hand the Smith center got a raw deal. It was built with the expectation that more concerts would take place there. No soil was turned untill booster raised the $43mil construction cost. After it was built, Raliegh taxpayers built Walnut Creek and leased it out to Clear Channel. The RBC center cost $200mill. Only a third was paid for with booster money. Another third was paid for by Raliegh taxpayers. The rest was paid with state money. The Hurricanes chipped in a little. These competing venues are the main reason so few concerts come to the Smith Center.

The subsidy is hard to justify on the basis of university activities. It's hard to justify period. Still, compaired to the state money that gets thrown at the RBC center it seem slight.

I attended the meeting tonight and took some interesting things from it, but I wanted to relay a couple of things that surprised me.

1) This is the third meeting I have been to related to UNC development which I have witnessed the "disappearing dorm disease" which seems to be plaguing our campus. I think I mentioned something here after the last series of Campus Master Plan updates about footprints for dorm construction disappearing from the map or being converted to other uses. Until I read over the proposal tonight I had no idea that the 15,000 square foot addition to the Carolina Inn was to connect it to Whitehead Dorm, a 100 bed student housing structure, which will now be hotel suites.

2) For better or for worse, parking is moving south. Personally, I think that as much outcry as there is from students and visitors for more parking towards North Campus, especially after hours and on weekends for events, that it seems odd that UNC decided to shift 890 parking spaces from the Bell Tower lot and 100 more from other locations onto Craige Lot, which is on the south side of Manning Drive. A lot of folks had traffic impact worries here, which I think are entierly legitimate considering how poorly this road and its nearby intersections curently function.

Anyway, it was an interesting presentation.

Thanks for the update Jason. I officially pass the "disappearing, bed-for-every-head" baton to you...

Check out this press release from the University of Western Ontario. What would it take to re-direct the thinking behind CN to consider something like this?

http://communications.uwo.ca/western_news/story.html?listing_id=21856

Mark,

Did you mean to link to an article entitled "Environment, sustainability focus of proposed school?" If so, you'll be happy to know that the Carolina Environmental Program has been operational for several years. The students and faculty in that program were the guiding force behind Chapel Hill and UNC's joint pledge toward carbon reduction.
http://www.unc.edu/news/archives/jun06/carbon062706.htm

UNC's Sustainability Office was formed in 2000 (or thereabouts) within Facilities Services. Cindy Shea, the director, is LEED certified and conducted workshops last spring for facilities architects and engineers to help them become certified as well.

I've been moderately happy about those developments and programs. I personally think that - while they are relatively advanced compared to other institutions - that they are quite modest in relation to what can be done and what needs to be done.

I'd like to see some real debate about the possibility of adddressing the real future needs of society with CN & not just building some LEED certified buildings (which by the way, LEED doesn't necessarily mean a building is as good as it can be, just that it cleared the bar) to house research for miitary companies or genetic engineering or some other profits first enterprise.

Great minds Mark ;-)?

Aug. 24th LAC notes:

Jack Evans: What is the current State regulatory position on these things, where that's likely to go, is that enough? At a minimum, anything we do out there will meet State regulations. But if that's not enough, or if those regulations are likely to migrate in a certain way, it would be useful to have your insight.

Will Raymond, citizen of Chapel Hill, former member of HWCC: Speaking on own behalf. Wants to talk about the environmental assay, which was an issue brought up by HWCC. Like what BioHabitats is doing, but it's not extensive enough/not a true environmental assay that UNC would be capable of doing. Want University to look at this property as a science experiment; are performing a major experiment on it. Look at it the same way you look at 100 acres in the deep jungle: looking for champion species of trees, real counts of flora and fauna, on/off-site evaluations of air pollution. No good hydrological studies/no good on-off site air studies. Want the committee to do that, but put as a core principle continuous monitoring after the fact. Troubled: Dean Evans referenced the minimum specs of the state; that concerns me; want to shoot for the stars, as George said. Should have world-class goals. University is capable of doing that. No one player should bear the burden? There is no other player that is building a community/development the size of Hillsborough in Chapel Hill. Unique project deserves unique environmental assay to determine the baselines.

I'm confused Mark. You pointed to the Western Ontario program as something that UNC should aspire to. Then you say you're moderately happy with similar programs UNC has had in place for several years. What did you see in the Western Ontario program that you think UNC is NOT already doing?

You're right that LEED doesn't assure that a building is the best it can be, but its a good first step. As is ensuring that designers and project managers understand the basics of green building standards. But designing efficient and aesthetically pleasing buildings is quite different from determining the functional use of those buildings. That's a policy decision for administrators rather than an architectural or sustainability issue.

On second look, maybe the Western Ontario effort could be stronger too. But my main point is that CN should fuse the "architectural or sustainability issue" with the "policy decisions" and commit to an ambitious new "School of Sustainability & Survival". A holistic ecological project that has the goal of addressing the paramount issue of our time - how to live in balance with the earth. Not how do we tailor research to get big grant bucks from pharmaceutical giants, etc.

 

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