Government, UNC

$156 Million Project vs. Teachers of Pitt County

The UNC Board of Governors approved a $156 million student center at ECU.  I spoke and voted against the measure in both Thursday’s UNC BOG Budget & Finance Committee and the Friday’s main UNC BOG meeting.  In both instances, I was the lone vote to deny.  It was Item 10 – Authorization of Non-Appropriated Capital Improvement Projects.  The ECU vote was split out in the B&F meeting because of the number of ECU officials attending the committee meeting.    I voted against the ECU item, but voted to approve the other items in a separate vote.

My concerns included:

  • $425 estimated student fee increase.  Approximately $10-11 million per year.
  • Raising fees, but taking credit for holding tuition flat is disingenuous.  
  • Construction costs of $156 million for 280,0000sf of buildings and parking deck.  A thorough review of construction costs for all projects across all campuses should be done.  In addition, those costs should be compared to private sector costs.
  • It is important to note that the instructional budget for Pitt County schools is $25 million per year.  This ECU student fee increase is $10-11 million per year by comparison.

On the same day as the UNC BOG vote for the ECU Student Center, Pitt County Schools announced that it would have to cut teachers’ hours because of ACA (Obamacare).  The impact of ACA (Obamacare) to the UNC System is $47 million per year.  We are going to struggle to deal with all these unanticipated costs.

Financial resources are not unlimited.  We must consider the financial impact of our decisions on students, teachers, taxpayers, and the area.

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4 thoughts on “$156 Million Project vs. Teachers of Pitt County

    • I joined the BOG in August. That item had already been approved and is not scheduled to come before us. That being said, my priorities are 1) educating North Carolinians, 2) students getting jobs, 3) return on investment for NC taxpayers and 4) using the Universities to bring private sector jobs to NC / help existing businesses expand / NC based startups.

      I applaud UNCG’s redevelopment efforts along Lee Street (Gate City Boulevard) – it’s transformative. I place greater importance on the idea of a multi-school building, like what is proposed downtown, than student or rec centers. I’d like to see UNCG and NC A&T work together to create centers that serve both campuses. I can’t give you a set thumbs up or down on the rec center, because I’m focussed on what I may have some measure of control over, not past decisions.

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