In her Feb. 22 guest column, Julie McClintock suggests that UNC's work on a Master Plan for the campus is being done without regard for its community neighbors and without diligent study of key environmental concerns.
In undertaking preparation of a Master Plan for the campus, the Board of Trustees and the University administration have sought to be both visionary about the future of North Carolina's flagship university campus and inclusive in the planning process.
As a state institution, we must absorb our share of the enrollment increase projected for the UNC system. We expect that this will mean as many as 3,000 additional students by 2008. Faculty and support staff will be needed to serve our students and other components of our mission, including health care and research.
The vision is clear: UNC seeks to extend the acknowledged beauty of its North Campus to the south and, over time, remedy mistakes of the past. The plan envisions a campus atmosphere south of Kenan Stadium that embraces some of the same qualities that have made the McCorkle Place and Polk Place quadrangles among the most beautiful landscaped spaces in America, as measured by the American Society of Landscape Architects.
Addressing environmental concerns has been central to our process. Working with our consultants, our planning team is examining the full range of issues, including stormwater runoff, air quality, traffic impacts and more.
From the outset of the process in 1998, we have conducted the process in an opened, inclusive way. Our planning teams include numerous community representatives. Our consultants have met with town staff. We have made four presentations to the community and the Town Council. And we have met with our neighbors in their homes and neighborhoods, walking and talking with them about their concerns. We have endeavored to refine the plan to address concerns following each discussion.
We recognize that implementation of the master plan will require ongoing discussion with the town. For that reason, Mayor Rosemary Waldorf and Chancellor James Moeser have established a town-gown working group to address these issues.
UNC, America's oldest public university, is 207 years old and will be here for a long time to come. The campus Master Plan looks 20 to 50 years into the future and, at the same time, addresses pressing issues of today. We look forward to working, as a good neighbor, with the community to implement our vision.