Now is not the right time for N.C. State University to spend $3 million on a new house for its chancellor.
While a new home might benefit the chancellor’s social and political life, reviving the budget should be the main priority.
The chancellor’s residence is currently located on N.C. State’s North Campus — a short distance from Memorial Bell Tower. It is an attractive 7,950-square foot home of red brick and was completed in 1928.
Last year, N.C. State cut $53 million from its budget. It eliminated hundreds of jobs and nearly 10,000 seats across 300 course sections.
Following these events, it is hard to portray building a new residence in any way other than as an irrational use of money.
Perhaps even more frustrating is what the $3 million — which would come from private donors — is buying N.C. State.
The new chancellor’s residence will be 8,500 square feet. N.C. State should balk at the idea of spending this money for 550 extra square feet.
The priorities of the donors are misplaced. In the context of recent budget cuts, it is inexplicable that anyone would think now is an appropriate time to press forward with this project.
Granted, the chancellor’s residence is dated and not suited to hold large gatherings. It was built purely to be a home and is inadequate for the social uses that modern chancellors require, like hosting fundraisers.
But bolstering the quality of education in these exceptional times should not be made secondary to constructing a more opulent residence for the chancellor.
Marvin Malecha, dean of the College of Design and a principal architect working on the project, said, “If you have your chancellor in a second-rate facility, you are going to have a second rate opinion (of the university) … Architecture is the symbol of a place.”
But constructing this “symbol” would say much more about the substance of N.C. State’s priorities.
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