The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Thursday December 8th

Funding the Vision: For Now, Ends Are Clearer Than Means

As the Master Plan vision for UNC's future finally comes into focus, the monetary sources that will make the multibillion dollar vision a reality are still unclear.

"The bulk (of the projects) don't have funding streams attached to them," said Jonathan Howes, director of the Master Plan.

Jack Evans, interim vice chancellor for finance and administration, said the nature of the Master Plan makes it impossible to solidify many funding sources.

"The Master Plan is probably a 50-year plan," Evans said.

"There are elements of the Master Plan that right now exist as footprints on the ground where we might put a building in the future."

But in the next decade, officials said they are relying on the $3.1 billion higher education bond referendum, self-financing projects and UNC's billion-dollar capital campaign to get the ball rolling.

Howes said a large portion of funding for Master Plan projects will come from the bond referendum if it passes Nov. 7.

The package is slated to deliver about $500 million to UNC for the repair, renovation and construction of campus buildings.

"We have some (projects) that are funded, and some are proposed to be funded from the bond issue," Howes said.

"The list of projects included in the bond issue are new buildings and old buildings, but obviously not all the buildings are provided for."

Howes said the bond money is necessary to begin construction of ambitious spending ventures such as the new science complex and for the renovation of such buildings as Murphey Hall and Caldwell Hall.

And while Howes said the Master Plan is not completely dependent upon the passage of the bond package, he said Master Plan officials have not even contemplated the repercussions if the referendum dies at the polls.

"We're not even considering that as a possibility right now," he said.

"The passage of the bond issue is absolutely essential to moving forward."

But Linda Convissor, project manager for campus facilities planning, said the bond's failure would not cripple the project.

"The Master Plan would not be undermined by the bond, but the development would become significantly more slow," she said.

Other fund-raising projects slated for the near future are self-financing.

Howes said a number of undertakings, such as the construction of parking decks and the South Campus residence hall communities, will be paid for through parking and housing fees, respectively.

Officials also will formally tap private contributions through a capital campaign aiming to raise more than a billion dollars in seven years.

"We've been planning a fund-raising campaign for the last couple years, and it will kick off next year," said Speed Hallman, director of development communication.

And although Hallman said the fund-raising campaign and the Master Plan are separate projects, he said the two overlap - while the Master Plan lays out future priorities, the capital campaign funds the priorities.

"They are independent of one another, yet very important to one another," he said. "(The capital campaign) helps us put the Master Plan in place."

Hallman said those donating private gifts during the campaign get to choose where their money goes.

But he said officials will encourage donors to fund some specific Master Plan projects.

"If there are partially funded buildings like the science complex, some of those we'll be raising money for in order to supplement state bond funds."

And Hallman said he has confidence donors will think of Master Plan projects as worthy investments.

"The Master Plan is a very enlightening thing for the University," he said.

Howes also said he is confident the Master Plan will garner the funds necessary for implementation and that non-secured funding will not affect the Master Plan's immediate future.

"We can adopt the plan without having every square inch of funding for every square inch of building planned."

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