2006 UNC capital construction
program preserves campus beauty By Chancellor James Moeser
The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill for The Chapel
I do not have to tell you that Carolina is in the midst
of an unprecedented building program. This summer was the
peak of construction, but by summer's end, many of the construction
fences started to come down as workers completed several key
projects, including parts of the Carolina Physical Science
Complex, the Ram Village residence halls near the Smith Center,
parking decks at Cobb and Jackson halls, and new stone walls
along Raleigh Street.
But no sooner had those projects been unveiled than more
fences went up. New utility work throughout campus is affecting
our roads. Also just under way is the site preparation for
the new music building -- an anchor for the planned arts common
where Carolina and the community will come together.
Even I have begun to wonder if UNC really does stand for
"University of Never-ending Construction." But we
have passed the mid-point of the capital construction program,
and the volume of ongoing projects will lessen gradually.
I would like to take the opportunity to review what this program
means to the university.
We are guided by a campus master plan -- adopted in 2001
after years of collaboration among university representatives,
community leaders, neighbors, architects and planners -- that
ensures our growth adheres to sound principles that include
a commitment to the traditional beauty of our campus.
We are driven by the concept of sustainability that has led
to innovative projects like the vegetated rooftops on the
Rams Head Center and the School of Nursing's Carrington Hall
addition. We are implementing progressive storm water management
techniques and aggressively promoting transportation alternatives
to single-occupancy vehicles, including fare-free buses (in
partnership with Chapel Hill Transit) and the Zipcar system.
We are building pedestrian bridges and paths to improve pedestrian
safety. All of these measures work to make campus better than
ever for Carolina and the Chapel Hill community.
Our new buildings are reflecting the university's architectural
traditions while adding contemporary elements. As one example,
take a look at how well the new Chapman Hall off South Columbia
Street complements older surrounding buildings. Other magnificent
buildings are opening all over campus. The FedEx Global Education
Center will open next spring as Carolina's new gateway to
the world. It is the first building on campus that uses rainwater
to flush toilets. Rainwater will also irrigate the building's
two green rooftops.
I am excited about Carolina's commitment to restoration and
preservation. A number of our more venerable old buildings
are being restored to their original architectural glory while
being outfitted to meet modern demands.
The Campus Y, long an icon of community service by Carolina
students, has been saved by this renewed commitment. Much
of that building had been condemned for years. The Y's renovations
will be completed in January.
Historically accurate new roofs are going on many old buildings,
including Caldwell, Bynum and Person halls. New East and New
West are returning to their historic color palates of tan
and brown. Soon we will begin reconstructing the historic
portico on Gerrard Hall.
We are also restoring the James Lee Love House in Franklin
Street's historic district to create a new home to the Center
for the Study of the American South. This is a good fit for
the university and its neighbors.
As we build, we are deeply committed to preserving the natural
beauty of campus. Extensive measures are taken to preserve
trees in the historic quadrangles and natural areas. Through
the master plan, we are replacing some surface parking areas
with new green spaces.
Landscaping will knit all that is new and old together in
the campus fabric that makes campus such an idyllic setting
within the Chapel Hill community. Small gardens are one part
of these efforts. A Thomas Wolfe memorial statue and garden
was recently dedicated between Murphey and Greenlaw halls.
The Carolina Alumni Memorial Garden is being installed along
Cameron Avenue between Memorial and Phillips halls.
We are creating new streetscapes along Manning Drive and
on South Road near the Student Stores. We have made significant
improvements at the intersection of Country Club Road and
Gimghoul Road and the surrounding area, including the new
Memorial Grove, an ashes garden, on that corner of campus.
More landscape enhancements are beautifying the area around
the Cobb deck and chiller plant.
Carolina's campus has long been the envy of universities
worldwide and a source of pride and enjoyment for the community.
Take a walk along the low stone wall borders of campus or
on the brick walks crossing lawns shaded by a canopy of old
trees, and it is clear that we have something very special
We are taking extraordinary care to ensure that Carolina's
distinctive landscape remains distinctly Carolina. We take
the long view to the future with a reverence to our past,
and I am truly proud of what we are accomplishing.
James Moeser is chancellor of the University of North
Carolina at Chapel Hill. He welcomes readers’ messages