The proposed Connect NC Bond will fund a $90-million science center at UNC Charlotte. This facility is critical to the university’s growth since enrollment has risen by 142 percent since 1985, when the current science building was constructed. UNC Charlotte accounts for nearly half of the recent enrollment growth in the entire UNC system.
The new building would provide undergraduate teaching laboratories and graduate research space. UNC Charlotte has increased its doctoral programs, with each science department now administering at least one doctoral program. Current lab space is inadequate to support the undergraduate and graduate teaching programs alongside the university’s research programs. The new building would provide classrooms and labs for students in physics, chemistry and biology.
Why is this particular project important to UNC Charlotte?
“Simply put, we’ve outgrown our facility and demand for laboratories and lecture space in the STEM fields has never been greater. At UNC Charlotte, 50 percent of our students with declared majors are in STEM-related fields, and 15,000 students take laboratory courses each year.”
How does the selected project help meet UNC Charlotte’s stated educational goals?
“We must continue to meet the demand for UNC Charlotte graduates. UNC Charlotte accounts for 46 percent of the recent growth in the entire UNC system. Since our current science building was opened in 1985, enrollment has grown by 142 percent. The Science Building is essential to opportunity at UNC Charlotte—opportunity for student success in affordable and accessible higher education, particularly in high-demand, STEM-related disciplines, and opportunity for a well-prepared professional workforce to help fuel the momentum of one of America's fastest-growing cities and regions.”
What impact will completion of the project have beyond the campus?
“UNC Charlotte is one of the top drivers of the Charlotte regional economy. With more than 67,000 alumni living in the region, we are a major factor in educating the workforce that powers the city and the region. And energy, healthcare, financial services, retail and advanced manufacturing industries depend increasingly on a professional workforce with university educations in the STEM disciplines. Executives from recent corporate relocations to the state, such as Electrolux, Sealed Air and MetLife, credit the strong University of North Carolina system and UNC Charlotte specifically as key determining factors in their locating in this region.
At all levels, UNC Charlotte is vital to the future of the state’s largest region and the second fastest growing urban center in the United States.”
What other benefits of the bond passage would you like to discuss?
“With $40 million of investment in community colleges in the Charlotte region, this bond will strengthen the reach of those important institutions, and enhance the strong partnership for students to transfer to UNC Charlotte. More than half of our new students are transfers from community colleges, and many of them are in the STEM fields, including nursing and engineering.”