Edifice Complex?

Did you know that college construction is in a “lull”? That’s the case at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where (according to the campus newspaper, the Daily Tar Heel) only $331.6 million worth of building is going on. That’s only ten projects; things haven’t been as bad since 1994, when only six projects were underway. Meanwhile, at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, there’s a plan to build a $91 million recreation center for students, the most expensive building ever on that campus, reports Jesse Saffron of the Pope Center. That’s running into some controversy, though, since each student is paying $435 a year in fees for that building alone. At least it’s not as expensive as North Carolina State University’s recent Talley Student Center, which came in at around $120 million. But then, NC State has 30,750 students and UNC Greensboro has only 16,938.

The striking thing about these projects is that, for the most part, they are paid for by student fees. The North Carolina legislature, showing admirable restraint, hasn’t authorized state appropriations for major university construction (some rehab, however) since fiscal year 2007–08. The fact that students have to pay for these buildings for years to come hasn’t halted construction — but at least it has created a “lull.”