With the passing of the bond referendum in North Carolina on Tuesday night, universities and community colleges stand to receive large sums of money to make improvements on campuses throughout the state.
WCU will receive the $98.4 million that it was slated to gain under the bond, and it will be used to complete several projects on campus.
With more than a dozen projects on the list to be completed with the bond money, speculation has heightened as to which will be started first.
According to Vice Chancellor for Business Affairs C.J. Carter, what the university will concentrate on first is the construction of the Fine and Performing Arts Center. The design process has been completed for the center, and all that would be necessary before construction would be a check of the designs for the building.
Carter said that the university will soon begin the bidding process to find contractors to construct the center. As with most state projects, the center will have several contractors, including plumbing, mechanical, and electrical, working on it at the same time.
After the bonds are sold in December or January to the public to finance all of the state projects, the university will receive the money and be able to advertise in local media outlets for bidders on the construction project. Sealed bids from contractors will be opened at a public ceremony, and the lowest qualified bidder will be chosen to begin work on the center.
Actual work on the center will begin a month to six weeks after contractors are chosen, said Carter, because they must assemble all permits and supplies needed.
After construction on the Fine and Performing Arts Center is started, the next item on the agenda, according to Carter, is the new 300-bed residence hall, since it is already in the design process.
However, it is not just new construction that is covered under the bonds, but improvements in the infrastructure of many academic buildings. “Some of our facilities are not up to standards for the kinds of instruction we are trying to accomplish now,” said Carter.
Vice-Chancellor for Student Affairs Dr. Robert Caruso, is very enthusiastic about the passing of the bonds, since the division has been working very hard in conjunction with other organizations to encourage support for the referendum.
Among the efforts that were made to endorse the bond were blitzes of nearby towns to distribute bond literature, banners on campus buildings, and bond t-shirts.
The plans that Caruso was most excited about to be completed under the bond include the new residence hall, the living/learning facility in what is now Graham Infirmary and the revamped Health Services Center to be moved to Bird Building.
He also said that the university was “very wise” to have included plans for land acquisition under the bonds, because as buildings are completed near the center of campus, there will be less space for recreational and intramural fields unless WCU gains more land.