The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Saturday January 22nd

UNC Students, Faculty Welcome Bond's Promised Funds

Now that the $3.1 billion higher education bond referendum has been passed by N.C. voters, UNC administrators are going to be very busy.

The University will receive roughly $500 million in funding, which officials say will be put to use renovating, updating and constructing campus facilities. Students and faculty alike expressed virtually unanimous approval that UNC will reap the benefits of the bond.

"We will be working overtime, but we don't mind," said Anne Cates, chairwoman of the Board of Trustees. She said the trustees are extremely grateful to the people of North Carolina who worked to pass the bond.

UNC officials also are pleased that the bond received such strong support. "To do it 3-to-1 is just remarkable," said Master Plan Director Jonathan Howes, referring to the 73 percent voter approval. "It's a mandate from the people of this state - now the real work can begin."

Howes said the increased funding means the Master Plan can continue into its next phase of development, which includes the new science complex and the demolition of Venable Hall.

Many chemistry students were wholeheartedly in favor of demolishing their department's ailing facilities.

Sedrick Mosley, a sophomore chemistry major who voted in favor of the bond, said the building needs improvements to remain competitive. "Improved labs will give professors and students the opportunity to advance in their fields," Mosley said.

Organizations all over campus put forth a major effort to get student voters to support the bond.

Chris McClure, chairman of Students for the University and Community College Bond, said leaders from diverse campus groups worked together to raise awareness.

"That was our goal - to make sure people knew about it," McClure said.

Interim Provost Richard Edwards said student awareness was an important factor in the passage of the bond, which will help UNC in its national and international standing. "It will help the position of the University in the 21st century."

He also said there will be some difficult times ahead as a result of UNC's financial gains. "Everybody who has something on the list (of new projects) is going to want it done first," Edwards said. "It will present a significant challenge for managing multiple projects."

Robert Shelton, the newly appointed provost who will take office in February, said he is ready to take on these challenges. Shelton will play a pivotal role in the development of the campus because the provost is also chairman of the Facilities Planning Committee.

He said he views construction on campus as a part of any growing university's environment. "Every major college campus I've ever been on has been constantly evolving and growing," Shelton said.

Along with most campus planners, Shelton said he assumed the bond would pass and did not try to imagine how UNC would continue to function without it.

"You can do a lot on a shoestring, but when you're competing at a higher level, you've got to have the resources."

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


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