October 3, 2007 edition

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The University Board of Trustees on Sept. 26 unanimously approved the plan for Carolina North to develop 250 acres of the nearly 1,000-acre site during the next half-century.

The trustees’ action clears the way for the plan to be reviewed and approved by the Chapel Hill Town Council.

The plan anticipates that 2.5 million square feet of building space will be completed over the first 15 years along the eastern boundary of the property bordering Martin Luther King Boulevard. The first of those projects will be a new 85,000-square-foot Innovation Center for which the University has already requested a special-use permit to begin construction.

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When visiting San Francisco, most tourists flock to see the Golden Gate Bridge, the internationally recognized symbol of the city, considered the engineering marvel of its age when the bridge opened in 1937.

Seventy years later, the San Francisco marvel that has caught the eye of Carolina’s Mark Crowell lies on the edge of the city in Mission Bay. Crowell is associate vice chancellor for economic development and technology transfer.

Once an industrial wasteland, Mission Bay is now home to a satellite campus for the University of California at San Francisco and, next to it, the burgeoning life science complex that is being developed by Alexandria Real Estate Equities of Pasadena, Calif.

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A philosopher who has interests in metaphysics and the mathematics of logic, a geneticist who is working to develop cancer therapies, a computer scientist who specializes in bioinformatics and data mining, and a historian who studies the African-American experience in the American South have received the 2007 Phillip and Ruth Hettleman Prizes for Artistic and Scholarly Achievement by Young Faculty.

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Seven Carolina employees were recognized for their outstanding contributions Sept. 24 at a luncheon at the Carolina Inn. Five people received the Chancellor’s Awards for Excellence and two received the Excellence in Management Awards.

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Campus-based tuition over the past decade has played a pivotal role in generating revenue to bolster faculty pay to keep Carolina competitive.

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Trustees approve plan for Carolina North campus

The University Board of Trustees on Sept. 26 unanimously approved the plan for Carolina North to develop 250 acres of the nearly 1,000-acre site during the next half-century.

The trustees’ action clears the way for the plan to be reviewed and approved by the Chapel Hill Town Council.

The plan anticipates that 2.5 million square feet of building space will be completed over the first 15 years along the eastern boundary of the property bordering Martin Luther King Boulevard. The first of those projects will be a new 85,000-square-foot Innovation Center for which the University has already requested a special-use permit to begin construction.

Carolina North Executive Director Jack Evans said the plan was the culmination of a large body of work by many people representing a wide range of community perspectives and technical expertise.

Evans said the plan had been shaped by the principles laid out by the Leadership Advisory Committee formed by Chancellor James Moeser in spring 2006. In addition, it was informed by a series of public sessions held to gain additional community input on various land use plans that were considered. And it had been subjected to analysis during a series of technical workshops and a detailed ecological assessment report that led planners to develop a land use plan on the already-developed portion of the tract, the Horace William Airport.

The plan will be refined based on a transit study that the University commissioned in partnership with the towns of Chapel Hill and Carrboro. In addition, Evans said, a six-month fiscal impact study is about to begin.

In the first phase of the project covering the first 15 years of development, an estimated $220 million will be invested in infrastructure alone. Evans said those investments would capitalize on opportunities to enhance sustainability and to make use of advances in technology yet to be developed.

Bob Winston, chair of the trustees’ Buildings and Grounds committee, said he had been involved with large real estate projects through his business, but he had never seen this much knowledge brought to bear on a project from its inception.

Evans said the next step was to make necessary changes to respond to trustees’ comments and then move forward with the town’s permit process. As for how long that would take, Evans said, “I would not try to handicap that one.”

Board Chair Roger Perry acknowledged that the plan the University submits to the town was sure to change over time.

“What we’re trying to do is get the ball rolling with the Town of Chapel Hill,” Perry said. (The 1,000-acre Carolina North tract stretches between Chapel Hill and Carrboro, but the 250-acre portion to be developed over the next 50 years is located in Chapel Hill.)

Moeser, in his Sept. 26 State of the University address, which he gave just hours before the trustees convened, called Carolina North “the defining thing for the third century of this University.”

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