Under the Dome

UNC leaders laud House bond proposal

Jane Stancill: 919-829-4559, @janestancill

UNC leaders seem to like the House’s version of the $2.8 billion bond proposal.

On Tuesday, UNC President Tom Ross and UNC Board of Governors Chairman John Fennebresque issued a joint statement thanking the House leadership for proposing $900 million in borrowing for construction of university facilities – in particular for high-end science buildings to meet what they say is a growing demand from students who want degrees in STEM, or science, technology, engineering and math.

Much of the money would go to new buildings as opposed to repairs and renovation – even though there is a backlog of needed repairs at UNC campuses. New buildings would add more ongoing operational costs at the campuses.

Proposed new projects include: $124.5 million for a life science/biotechnology building at East Carolina; $102.9 million for a science building at Western Carolina; $96.7 million for an engineering building at N.C. A&T; $90 million for a science facility at UNC-Charlotte; $68.8 million for a medical education building at UNC-Chapel Hill; $70.8 million for a health sciences building at Appalachian State; and $65.1 million for an engineering building at N.C. State.

“The Board worked hard to prioritize new projects in order to maximize the impact of new state investments,” Fennebresque said in the statement.

UNC President Tom Ross added: “We’ve spent significant time assessing the capital needs of our 17 campuses, including their documented repair and renovations needs.”

One thing that was not on the UNC wish list: $58.8 million for a new western campus of the N.C. School of Science and Math, based in Durham. That project has friends in the legislature.

The House plan would spend more on universities than Gov. Pat McCrory’s plan, which included $500 for UNC. The proposal from the House would also direct $300 million to community colleges and $500 million to the public schools.

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