The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Board of Trustees on January 28 unanimously passed a resolution endorsing the $2 billion Connect NC bond that will be on the March 15 ballot.
If approved, the bond would include $68 million in funding for a new medical education building at the School of Medicine.
Board Chair Dwight D. Stone said a new medical education building would provide modern, interactive instruction, grow future class sizes and enhance the medical school’s statewide presence in partner campuses in Asheville, Charlotte and Wilmington.
The existing medical school building, Berryhill Hall, opened in 1970 when the school consisted of 353 students; by 2014, the medical school was training about 2,400 inter-professional health care providers and medical students.
“Berryhill Hall is nearly 50 years old,” Stone said. “We need a modern teaching facility to train more doctors to serve North Carolina. It’s the people, not the building, who matter the most. More doctors means better health care for North Carolinians.”
Chancellor Carol L. Folt said the medical school building is a project that would have “an immediate and important impact” because it will not only increase the medical school’s ability to train more doctors, but preserve the school’s ability to continue training the best doctors.
“That’s what the state deserves and that is what we really want to do,” Folt said.
While the bond would provide $68 million to help with the building, the estimated cost is $90.6 million, leaving about $22.6 million, which would need to be raised.
Among the highlights from Wednesday’s committee meetings:
- The Finance and Infrastructure Committee reviewed three goals to guide environmental and energy policies that Folt calls “the three zeros.” The plan calls for reducing use of potable water and increasing the use of reclaimed water in order to achieve “net zero water usage; maximizing recycling and beneficial reuse of on-campus waste to achieve “zero waste to landfills;” and switching to zero emission energy sources where practical and minimized reliance on hydrocarbons to achieve “net zero greenhouse gas emissions.”
- The University Affairs Committee received a report that a request for proposals for management of UNC Student Stores has been posted, with proposals due Feb. 18. No decision has been made on outsourcing of the business, but it is being considered because of the potential to increase money for scholarships.
- The Commercialization and Economic Development Committee discussed the need to develop a new Innovation Roadmap to replace the one launched five years ago to foster a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship among students, faculty and staff.
- The External Relations Committee reviewed a report from Doug Dibbert, president of the General Alumni Association, about the vital role alumni play as members of the University community, which consists of 27,904 students, 8,297 staff members, 3,667 faculty and 308,926 alumni. The association seeks to promote a spirit of fellowship and loyalty among alumni and the campus community, while providing a continuous flow of information on the progress and needs of the University, Dibbert said.