Campus Contrast: The Spanking New and the Tattered

From the University Report (published by the GAA 1970-94)

As the long awaited first game in the “Dean Dome” takes place this month, it is hard not to be impressed with the scale and scope of the construction that is taking place in the Southern Part of Heaven.

Last spring, we dedicated the new $22.4 million Walter Royal Davis Library. This 10-acre state-of-the-art facility, which is one-third the size of the Library of Congress, should keep our number one ranking in the Southeast secure for the rest of the 20th century,

We’re just completing the $7 .6 million Morehead addition to the chemistry teaching laboratories which includes the legendary Venable Hall and the recently added Kenan
Tower. Continuing to graduate more  undergraduate chemists than any other university in the country necessitate these facilities.

Just last month I witnessed the dedication of the Esley O. Anderson Pavilion at N.C. Memorial Hospital. This modern intensive care facility was built at a cost of $18.6 million and was completed six months ahead of schedule!

Also nearing completion is the first dormitory to be constructed on campus since the late ’60s — the $6.8 million Katherine Carmichael Dormitory — which will accommodate 500 students on an inviting site across from Kenan Stadium, overlooking the outdoor swimming pool and only a stone’s throw from the main campus. It is complete with air conditioning — a first on our campus.

The $9.2 million Computer Science building, about which you read in the November 1985 issue of The University Report, replaces several precious parking paces with one of the most modern telecommunications centers in the Southeast. Appropriately, it will house one of the nation’s top computer science departments.

The list goes on — Kenan Field House is now receiving a needed expansion. The General Assembly, last summer, funded an essential and long delayed $16 million Public Health and Environmental Sciences Building. As you have read in your alumni publications, the $8 million Kenan Center is a sparkling addition to South Campus. On a richly forested hill near the Student Activities Center, this 66,000-square-foot structure will house the U C-CH School of Business’ Institute for the Study of Private Enterprise and the William Rand Kenan Jr. Trust offices.

At the completion of a $7 million campaign, a new Alumni Center will be constructed adjacent to the Kenan Center to provide the University’s 160,000 alumni with their first permanent home on the Chapel Hill campus.

All of this construction should not overshadow our more significant academic accomplishments. In this issue you can read about the recognition your alma mater ha recently received in a survey of college and university presidents conducted by U.S. News & World Report, ranking our undergraduate program in the top ten in the country. You can also note the accolades recently given to our undergraduate business program by MONEY magazine. The UNC Journalism School has just been ranked by newspaper editors among the top six in the U.S.

In November’s University Report we reviewed the praise given our University in the popular book The Public Ivys by Richard Moll. As you will recall, Mr. Moll cites Chapel Hill as one of eight public universities where an in-state student can receive an undergraduate education equal in quality to that of the Ivy League school for a fraction of the cost.

While Mr. Moll asserts that Chapel Hill “may be the best college town in America,” he makes the following troubling observation:

The saddest aspect of the UNC campus is the whole place looks a bit tattered, despite spanking new structures. Someone cut the maintenance budget, and it shows.

In our feature this month by Carolina senior Ruthie Pipkin you have learned how serious is the state of disrepair among many of our University affiliated but independently chartered fraternities. Visitors to Chapel Hill, and particularly alumni of these fraternities, are well aware of the eyesore some of these houses have become. It is encouraging that many fraternities are now taking corrective action with the encouragement of the Board of Trustees and the University Administration.

What is more disturbing and not widely known is the $55 million backlog of essential major facility repair and renovation needs that exist across our campus. The N.C. General Assembly, while historically supportive of maintaining and enhancing the University’s academic preeminence, has not always recognized that a University nearing it 200th birthday has unique needs for facilities maintenance not found elsewhere in the 16-campus system. Left unattended. deteriorating physical facilities grow more costly to repair and adversely affect the University’s competitive standing as an institution for teaching, research and public service.

Thus, while we should all be excited about the opening of the Student Activities Center and the many other new facilities that are or within months will be opening, we need to realize that our national ranking as an academic institution is jeopardized by what we are unable to do with the building in which you and I were taught. Working with the General Assembly, we need to find the needed resources for this unglamorous but needed repair.

Then we’ll invite Mr. Moll back to tour the Southern Part of Heaven.

Yours at Carolina,

Doug signature





Douglas S. Dibbert ’70