Historic preservation architect finds connections between
old and new
Office of Human Resources gives information on State Health
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
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
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
“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
Office of Human Resources gives information
on State Health
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, hr.unc.edu/Data/benefits/shp-enroll-10.
The following resources are available for employees who
would like to quit smoking or other tobacco use:
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 www.quitlinenc.com.
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 www.ndp.unc.edu/tobacco_users.htm.
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
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
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,
www.shpnc.org/annual-enrollment-2010.html, 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:
members who are members of the Physician & Associates (P&A) group;
covered under the NCFlex Critical Illness and/or Cancer plans; and
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
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-
I recently received an e-mail that my enrollment log-in was
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:
have a hyphenated first name;
first name is too short or not on record;
have two first names with a space between them;
first name is more than 10 letters (i.e., Christopher is 11 letters); or
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.