“The opportunity to bring undergraduate admissions to Franklin Street would really create an opportunity to bring a lot of unique visitors to downtown, where they have the opportunity to see both Chapel Hill and the University,” Merklein said.
For Chapel Hill Mayor Pam Hemminger, finding a way to connect the University to the Town is an important aspect of the Master Plan.
“Connectivity is a huge theme in the UNC Master Plan,” Hemminger said. “We’re all working towards plans that help our community together.”
Merklein also said before any drastic changes occur, there will be community input sessions and workshops which will cover topics such as urban density and historic preservation.
“We want to have these types of community discussions,” Merklein said. “We’re envisioning a four-to-six month process where we hold the workshops and have them work through some schematic concepts.”
As a part of the semi-annual update, the University also mentioned some of the projects that had been completed since the last update, including Dorrance Field at UNC's Soccer & Lacrosse Stadium, a new indoor athletics facility where student athletes can practice and an ACC Network Media and Communications Center located by the Dean Smith Center.
The University presented other updates about various ongoing projects under construction in Chapel Hill.
University Architect Evan Yassky presented updates on projects such as the UNC Hospitals Surgical Tower, the Odum Village demolition, Chapel Creek Wetland and Outdoor Education Center, the Curtis Media Center and the Carolina Visitors Center that was proposed earlier in the meeting.
Town Council Member Hongbin Gu expressed concerns about how the various projects are going to affect the transportation in town, and Yassky said he shares that concern.
“We still believe a mass transit solution is necessary,” Yassky said. “We are still banking on some transit solutions, and it’s really not just for the southern part of our campus, but for Chapel Hill generally to be able to be a healthy, productive community.”