The Daily Tar Heel

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Saturday November 26th

Moeser Addresses UNC Master Plan At Annual Forum

Chancellor James Moeser and other campus officials fielded questions concerning the University's future from employees in the chilly confines of Gerrard Hall on Thursday.

The questions posed by the audience ranged from the Native American presence on campus to salary concerns - but the meeting was mainly focused on UNC's Master Plan and University finances.

The Master Plan is a blueprint for future campus development that was first presented by the late Chancellor Michael Hooker in 1998.

The Final Master Plan was announced to University and town officials in September and will be up for approval by the Board of Trustees in January.

Moeser began the annual Employee Forum Community Meeting noting the irony of discussing the impact of the Master Plan and the $3.1 billion higher education bond referendum in one of the University's oldest and most dilapidated buildings.

The bond, which will give the University about $500 million to repair and renovate its facilities if it passes in the November elections, was Moeser's focus for the first half hour of the meeting.

He stressed how the bond referendum's passage would help achieve his goal of making UNC the best public university in the nation.

Moeser told the audience he plans to couple the funding of an approved bond package with a major private fund-raising campaign over the next seven or eight years.

"I want to triple (the bond's funding) in terms of private support."

Moeser also discussed how some of the bond money could be put to use in funding future physical improvements on campus such as those presented in the Master Plan's blueprints.

"(The plan) is a 50-year build-out, and none of us will see these buildings unless we come back reincarnated in another life form," Moeser said jokingly.

As the meeting progressed, many expressed concern about a lack of communication and information regarding the future effects of continual day-to-day construction.

Jack Evans, interim vice chancellor for finance and administration, said a planning committee is being developed and that a group discussing facilities needs is being revamped to address these needs.

Moeser also said he will not deny that sweeping changes will cause stress and agreed that efforts must be improved to keep employees aware of the "what and why" of construction.

He noted that visitors to the campus also should be made aware.

He added that though the construction process may make life more difficult for those on campus, it should be viewed positively.

"It's actually a good story of a university making dramatic changes."

The University Editor can be reached at udesk@unc.edu.


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