July 2005 An ivitation to visit
By James Moeser
My wife, Susan, and I recently returned from an exciting
week in Singapore and Bangkok. We spent time with students
studying in Singapore, with alumni working to forge ties between
the Pacific Rim and Chapel Hill, with staff from our Kenan
Institute Asia, and with fellow university presidents in a
roundtable hosted by the National University of Singapore
to explore global developments in university research and
education. Carolina continues to explore meaningful partnerships
that benefit our students and the state’s economy.
Upon returning to campus, I found progress of another sort.
The construction that many of you encounter daily on and near
the campus had crept to the doors of South Building, my campus
home. South Building is penned in by construction on both
sides. Cameron Avenue and Polk Place are the sites of major
improvements with excavators rumbling next to my building.
(I sometimes think that the oft-threatened fence around Chapel
Hill has become a reality.) These two projects represent a
fraction of the $1.5 billion capital improvement program that
is among the largest on any U.S. campus.
In November 2000, North Carolinians overwhelmingly approved
the $3.1 billion bond referendum for higher education. This
infusion of funds – $510 million for our campus –
jumpstarted many projects identified in the campus master
plan in ways we never imagined when that effort began in 1998,
involving both campus and community leaders.
The master plan has guided site selection and design for
new buildings made possible by the bond referendum, as well
as our own faculty through their competitive efforts to attract
research funding and the generosity of private donors. We
are proud that the vision of the master plan and our approach
to implementing it will be nationally recognized tonight with
an award from the Society for College and University Planning
and the American Institute of Architects.
By following the campus master plan, we are increasing green
space on a campus long considered one of the nation’s
most beautiful. And as hard as the presence of so many construction
cranes and so much red clay may make it to believe, ours is
a smart growth campus. In August, we are inviting local officials
to tour campus for an update on the construction program and
our award-winning sustainability efforts – including
traffic, storm water, energy conservation and recycling –
that underlie it.
We started updating the master plan last year. When adopted
in 2001, the plan identified the ultimate build-out of the
campus. Because of the scope and speed of our current construction
program, we are running out of space to accommodate research
and other activities so critical to remaining a leading public
Later this week, we will brief the Board of Trustees on the
campus master plan update and the challenges we face in accommodating
our needs on main campus. This follows a timely session on
Carolina North in May. As we approach the ultimate build-out
of our main campus, achieving future growth on Carolina North
becomes even more pressing.
Carolina North is more than real estate or bricks and mortar.
It is literally our vision for the future. It will be the
most important new endeavor this university undertakes in
our lifetimes. We must be thoughtful stewards of this property
and the ideas for it that can mean so much to this university,
our community and to this state – a platform for amazing
discovery, innovation and meaningful outreach.
At Carolina North, we will create a setting for service,
for reaching out to our communities and beyond. And we will
attract to Chapel Hill some of the world’s best thinkers
and thoughtful entrepreneurs drawn here by the creative opportunities
on our new campus and the wonderful and gracious communities
of Chapel Hill and Carrboro.
We express our values by what we build. On our historic campus,
we have embraced the concepts of sustainability, using new
ideas to preserve its beauty while we build new buildings.
We are committed to doing the same at Carolina North, to create
a living-learning community that provides housing and services
as well as creates jobs. We want to build in an environmentally
sound way following the same principles of sustainability
we use on main campus. And we want to integrate these plans
thoughtfully with the interests of the campus, adjacent neighborhoods
and the community.
I invite you to join us as our trustees are briefed by our
planning team and Ayers Saint Gross, our consultants, on the
master plan update and implications for future growth. No
action on the master plan or Carolina North is expected at
this meeting. The board convenes Thursday at 8 a.m. at the
Carolina Inn and the master plan update is the last item on
the morning agenda. The meeting is in the Chancellors’
Ballroom East and West. If you come by, feel free to say hello
to me at the break.
Thanks to The Chapel Hill Herald for this opportunity to
contribute a column on the fourth Sunday of each month. I
look forward to sharing information and insights about the
university with the people of Chapel Hill, Carrboro and Orange
James Moeser is chancellor of the University of North Carolina
at Chapel Hill. Readers may reach him at email@example.com.