As UNC Charlotte’s student population booms, a flurry of construction is underway on campus to keep up.
UNCC’s total student body grew by over 11 percent from 2013 to 2018, to just under 30,000. It’s now the third largest school in the UNC System. To accommodate the additional students, the school is building a variety of new facilities, such as an admissions building and a recreation center, at a cost of more than $250 million.
The university has spent $1.2 billion on construction since Chancellor Philip Dubois took office in 2005, a spokeswoman for the school said.
“We’ve been building to keep up with the growth,” said Kathryn Horne, director of facilities planning and campus architect. ”When we look at the amount of space we have per student today, it’s about the same as we had 10 years ago, and maybe even 20 years ago.”
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Here are some of the latest projects planned or underway around campus.
The $8 million admissions center is set to be completed this spring. The 18,000-square-foot building will be in the South Village portion of campus, near the main entrance off of University City Boulevard. Currently, the admissions office operates out of Cato Hall, which also houses the chancellor’s office.
Horne said the facility will have an auditorium that can hold about 100 people for information sessions, which is double what the current room can hold. The construction is being funded by private gifts.
The site of an old steam plant will soon be home to a modern science facility, in the university’s largest ongoing project.
Horne said the facility was at the top of the university’s priority list, as STEM programs have seen large enrollment gains. The current building, Burson, was constructed in 1985.
“We’ve outgrown what we have,” Horne said.
When completed in 2021, the facility will have classroom and research space for a variety of science programs. The project, with a cost of just over $100 million, is funded by the 2016 statewide Connect NC bond and some university funds. The bond referendum allowed the state to borrow $2 billion for projects across UNC system campuses.
Tall windows line the exterior of the imposing brick structure soon to be a campus recreation center.
When it opens in the fall, the 160,000-square-foot recreation center will feature amenities like group fitness spaces, recreational aquatic facilities, and aerobic and weight training rooms. The $66-million project is being funded by university debt and student fees.
Hotel and conference center
In a project the city hopes will draw conferences to Charlotte, the nonprofit UNC Charlotte Foundation is developing an $83 million Marriott hotel and conference center.
Construction of the hotel, next to the J.W. Clay Boulevard light rail station, is expected to begin this year and wrap up by 2021.
City council approved the rezoning of the site and a subsidy of up to $8 million for the project in August. UNCC estimated that the project would create around 210 jobs when it opens, the Observer reported at the time.