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* *Historic preservation architect finds connections between old and new
* *Office of Human Resources gives information on State Health Plan enrollment


Historic preservation
architect finds connections between old and new

Dream jobs are hard to come by, and Wendy Hillis considers herself both grateful and lucky to have found hers as the University’s campus historic preservation architect.

Grateful because of the bad economy. Lucky because she knows of only three other positions similar to hers in the country – one at William and Mary, one at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and one at the University of Virginia, where she earned a master’s degree in architecture, with a certificate in historic preservation, in 1997.

Hillis takes an expansive view of her job. Although she is an architect by training, she is quick to challenge the preconceived idea that historic preservation is only about protecting old buildings.

“Historic buildings are part of the brand of the University and we need to be good stewards of them, but we also have to understand them as part of our growing campus and our changing needs,” she said.

In this way, Hillis said, buildings both old and new interact with each other, and that makes her job similar to that of an interpreter trying to figure out how the past relates to the future.

Since she was hired in January 2009, Hillis has taken on additional duty as a land-use planner for all University properties, including Carolina North and University Square.

Hillis is faced with a different set of challenges than her predecessor, Paul Kapp, encountered.

Kapp took on the newly created position in 2002, just after the start of what would become one of the biggest capital construction programs at any university in the country.

Hillis, on the other hand, arrived at the start of one of the most severe recessions since the Great Depression, when money to keep buildings operating became hard to come by.

But the lack of funds to address buildings’ needs does not make those needs any less significant, Hillis said, as she rattled off buildings badly in need of renovation and repairs: from Battle, Vance and Pettigrew to Caldwell and Howell halls.

Perhaps the one building most in need of some TLC is Playmakers Theatre. Originally named Smith Hall, it was completed in 1851 for use as a library and today is one of only two buildings on campus (the other is Old East) that have merited distinction as a National Historic Landmark, Hillis said.

And the old theater was the one building on campus she already knew all about even before she arrived, thanks in part to the bachelor of arts degree in art history that she earned at the University of California at Davis.

What makes the building so distinctive, Hillis said, is the decision by its architect, Alexander Jackson Davis, to substitute the usual adornment of acanthus leaves in its Corinthian capitals with wheat and Indian corn as a symbol of the young nation that America was. A capital is the decorative piece at the top of a column.

When the library moved to a new building in 1907, the law school occupied Smith Hall until 1923. It was not until 1925 that the building was renovated for use by the Carolina Playmakers.

Hillis said exterior work was completed on the theater three years ago, but an ambitious interior renovation of around $10 million is on hold because of a lack of funding.

In Hillis’ eyes, that may have been a blessing in disguise since the overhaul once contemplated would not have transformed the building, but would have erased what it was intended to be.

Original plans called for installing air conditioning, removing the floor to install an air plenum and adding a moveable stage apron, orchestra pit and modern lighting and sound systems.

A revised budget of $150,000 will be spent before the start of the fall semester to add new carpeting, paint and refurbish seats, as well as make the building accessible for disabled people.

That will be enough to open its doors for student use, but not enough for a complete restoration, she said. Hillis believes a $5 million renovation would take care of adding modern systems to the building in keeping with the limits of what such a building should reasonably be able to accommodate.

“It is important to know the bones of a building to understand what its skeleton can sustain,” Hillis said. “The danger of packing modern features in such a building is ruining everything that is great about it.”

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Office of Human Resources gives information
on State Health Plan enrollment

Enrollment for the State Health Plan opened this month. Within the first few days, more than 3,400 employees had completed their online enrollment. However, that leaves thousands of employees who need to take action by April 30 or risk staying in the PPO Basic (70/30) plan.

Employees can visit the University’s dedicated Web site for instructions and links to the enrollment Web portal by accessing information on the Office of Human Resources Web site,

The following resources are available for employees who would like to quit smoking or other tobacco use:

* *NC Quitline, a free telephone coaching service to support your effort to become tobacco-free. State Health Plan members who enroll in the multi-call program can receive free nicotine patches. Call 1-800-Quit-Now (1-800-784-8669) or refer to

* *UNC Nicotine Dependence Program, located at the UNC Family Medicine Center, 590 Manning Drive, offers individual appointments with group or individual follow-up. The office visit co-pay applies to the first visit with all follow-up at no charge. Call 966-0210 to schedule an appointment. For information, refer to

The Office of Human Resources has provided answers to frequently asked questions about this year’s enrollment. Employees can contact their benefit consultant at 962-3071 for additional information.

Who has to enroll online?
Every active permanent employee must enroll online this year.

What happens if I don’t enroll?
Because of the State Health Plan’s comprehensive wellness initiative, all employees currently enrolled in the PPO Standard (80/20) plan will automatically be moved to the PPO Basic (70/30) plan by the State Health Plan.

You must re-enroll online and acknowledge whether you and/or any covered dependents use tobacco products. The State Health Plan calls this process an “attestation.” The attestation includes several questions asked at the beginning of the enrollment process.

If you attest that neither you nor any covered dependents use tobacco products, you can change your coverage level back to the standard plan. If you attest that you and/or your covered dependents do use tobacco products, and are not currently in an approved smoking cessation program, you must remain in the basic plan.

If you do not re-enroll and complete the required attestation, you will remain in the basic (70/30) plan for the 2010–11 benefit year, which begins July 1.

I’m a retiree. Do I have to enroll online?
The current annual enrollment for the State Health Plan is for active employees only. Employees who have retired (including faculty members on phased retirement) who are receiving pension and health-care benefits as a retiree must follow the instructions outlined in the State Health Plan enrollment booklet for retirees (see the State Health Plan Web site,, and review the enrollment booklet applicable to Medicare primary retirees or State Health Plan primary retirees).

Should I complete the “other insurance” information?
In general, the following groups should not complete the “other insurance” information:

* *Faculty members who are members of the Physician & Associates (P&A) group;
* *Employees covered under the NCFlex Critical Illness and/or Cancer plans; and
* *Employees age 65 and older who are actively working. The State Health Plan is still the primary insurer for these employees.

In general, those employees who have other insurance but are not part of one of those groups should complete the “other insurance” information. If you have questions, contact your benefits consultant at 962-3071.

Can I change my address on the online enrollment site?
No. Employee address changes must be made using the University’s campus directory since it is the system of record for employee addresses and other demographics. The University electronically transmits employee data (personal and work data) weekly to ebenefitsNow.

If you need assistance with the campus directory, contact your HR facilitator.

I incorrectly answered one of the tobacco attestation questions. What should I do?
Contact your benefit consultant to obtain an amended attestation form and have the consultant update/override your ben- efit election.

I recently received an e-mail that my enrollment log-in was
“non-standard.” What does that mean, and what should I do?

Some employees’ login IDs do not conform to the standard login ID (first name, first letter of your last name and the last four digits of your Social Security number). Employees may have been assigned a non-standard login ID because:

* *They have a hyphenated first name;
* *Their first name is too short or not on record;
* *They have two first names with a space between them;
* *Their first name is more than 10 letters (i.e., Christopher is 11 letters); or
* *Another user within the Benefit Focus system already has the log-in ID that would have matched the standardized format for an employee.

Benefits Services is communicating directly with those employees who have non-standard log-in IDs to provide an alternate log-in.

If you are unable to log in after receiving a modified log-in ID, or you want to obtain your log-in ID, call the ebenefitsNow Customer Service Center at 866-822-8688 for assistance.

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April 14 Gazette PDF

Click here to read the
April 14 issue as a pdf


* *University conducts emergency drill off campus on April 21

* *Six are honored for service with Massey Awards

* *Meanza and Stuart teach graduate students how to present their science

* *Historian returns home to teach Carolina’s first Lumbee Indian course

2010 University Teaching Awards insert

Click here to read the
2010 University Teaching Award Winners insert as a pdf

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(919) 962-7124 - office
(919) 962-2279 - fax

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