Summer construction - short-term pain, long-term gain

May 11, 2017

The approaching summer months leading into the fall semester will bring an increase in campus construction.  Without question, the wave of construction projects will challenge the campus community.  The good news is, it is temporary – sort of!

Campus navigation may feel like an episode of “Survivor” for a while, but ultimately it will be “Home Free” because everyone will benefit from the planned improvements.

After commencement, parking lots 18 and 19 will permanently close to make way for two major construction projects.  A $14 million Union Deck Expansion project will begin almost immediately.  Expanding Union Deck will add 570 parking spaces to the deck’s west end making up for spaces loss with the closure of lots 18 and 19, and adding to parking spaces in this part of campus.

A new $63.5 million Health and Wellness Center scheduled to begin construction in June, will be on the lot 19 site near the Popp Martin Student Union. The planned 140,000 square foot facility will include aerobic and weight training rooms, group fitness areas, multipurpose courts, a recreational pool, and space for administration of intramural and recreational programs.  This much-needed facility addresses the current shortage of student health and wellness space. 

A number of other important projects are on slate to begin this summer:

Expect outdoor wireless coverage to increase significantly thanks to the installation of additional wireless access points throughout campus.  Students will be able to finish research papers and study for exams in a variety of outdoor spaces.  Visitors to Halton Arena will also enjoy access to fast, reliable wireless service.  Expect the wireless installations to be completed this fall.

Work on the Charlotte Research Institute entrance at Institute Circle and North Tryon will provide an enhanced “sense of arrival” to the University, similar to the main entrance at University City Boulevard.  Construction will begin in late summer.  The scope of work includes a UNC Charlotte sign, brick columns, and enhancements to pedestrian access.

In preparation for the start-up of the LYNX Blue Line Extension, which will bring light rail to campus, work will be underway for improvements to pedestrian and shuttle bus access at both the Main station on campus and the J.W. Clay station. 

A major renovation of the second high-rise residence hall in South Village, Scott Hall, will start this month and complete in ten months.  Renovations of the final two, Moore and Sanford, are planned for 2019 and 2020, respectively.

The long-awaited revitalization of Belk Plaza will start in September and take about six months to complete.  The project includes a “Great Lawn” and a unique water feature with plans to be an exceptional outdoor “living room” for the campus.

Work will also start on a new Facilities Operations and Parking and Transportation Services complex located near North Deck. The complex includes a new warehouse for Receiving and Stores.  Moving these functions from its current location, at Mary Alexander and Craver Roads, will make room for the new Science Building.

Three important projects will complete this summer. First, the repurposing of the old Residence Dining Hall (RDH) into administrative offices for Housing and Residence Life and the catering kitchen will finish this month. Secondly, the new Student Counseling Center, located adjacent to the Student Heath Center, will finish in August. Finally, renovation of the Burson Building will conclude in August with a fresh look to the old 1980-style chemistry and physics classrooms and much-improved air conditioning.  Much to the chagrin of chemistry students the ubiquitous periodic table charts will remain.

Renovation of the Academic Complex continues with the Phase 1 Denny Building expected to complete in December. Phase 2, Macy and Barnard, will begin late this summer.  Employees in these buildings will take up temporary occupancy in the Cedar and Hickory buildings.  This project will revitalize some of our oldest buildings to serve the campus for the next 30 years. 

No construction update would be complete without mention of UNC Charlotte’s largest project ever – the $101 million Science Building.  This state-of-the-art interdisciplinary facility will be home to instruction and research in chemistry, physics, and biology. To be located at the corner of Mary Alexander and Craver Roads, design is underway and expected to take approximately one and a half years, with construction starting in late 2018.  The anticipated occupancy date is late 2020.

Throughout the influx of construction workers and equipment throughout campus – safety is key.  Pedestrians and drivers should remain alert to route changes, road and sidewalk closures, barricades, and construction signage and traffic.

Facilities Management is working through an unprecedented level of construction.  The goal is to do our best to ease the challenges and facilitate smooth transitions in the months ahead.  We appreciate everyone’s patience as we work together through an exceptional series of construction projects that will enrich the campus upon completion.

Visit the Five-year Capital Construction Plan website for schedule updates on these and other projects.

The interactive campus map is an excellent resource for navigating campus.  Real-time updates will show restrictions caused by construction.