UNCG Magazine

Rise to the Challenge

Call to service frames our future

A new Nursing and Instructional Building. A new Campus Master Plan. And on the horizon: an innovative and impactful arts collaborative space at the corner of Tate and Gate, a renovated and expanded Jackson Library, and a vision to spur the technology corridor along Gate City Boulevard. These latest developments in the transformation of UNC Greensboro’s campus will give the University the capability to better serve our students and the needs of the broader community.

The students, the region, and the state will have great need during the coming years due to the economic downturn and the many repercussions of the pandemic. The following projects will help reposition the University to better support research and learning, community engagement, and real-world impact. The full weight of the University will be essential to supporting the people of our state in the coming decade and beyond, as we lead the way in this rapidly changing and expanding knowledge- and technology-based world.


A UNIFIED VISION

2020 marks a period of great challenges, but also needs and opportunities. An incisive new master plan will pave the way for the University to embark on a strategic and sustainable academic and physical framework. This year’s revised Campus Master Plan –  replacing the one created in 2008 and updated in 2014 – will build firmly upon the University’s rich history, campus character, and strong sense of place and community.

UNCG is deeply invested in empowering students to unleash their potential and make a meaningful impact with their lives. That commitment is proven by, for example, UNCG’s recent recognition by U.S. News & World Report as ranking first in the state for social mobility for students.

UNCG’s designation of a Millennial Campus is an extension of that goal – delivering mixed-use, innovation-focused campus districts where the University, industry partners, and the surrounding community come together around health, technology, and the arts. This designation will manifest itself in coming years as new facilities are developed and existing ones reimagined along the Tate Street and Gate City Boulevard corridors.

“By supporting new public-private partnerships, collaborative research projects, and community-engaged research, the Millennial Campus districts will facilitate enhanced University-community interaction in ways that are physically, economically, and culturally interwoven,” says Chancellor Franklin D. Gilliam, Jr.

A particularly important aspect of this plan that directly affects and involves students is the way in which these developments offer them hands-on opportunities to learn and work, as well as to engage with communities through outreach and service.

YouTube video

NIB by the Numbers

180K

Square Feet

39

Labs

14

Classrooms

9

Research Suites

A GEM IN STEM: NURSING & INSTRUCTIONAL BUILDING

If there is one thing that is well validated in 2020, it’s that health and wellness, a strategic forté of our University, are as essential as ever. That will be brought to the fore by the opening of the new Nursing and Instructional Building (NIB). The new facility tangibly represents the impact UNCG brings for the region and state in the realm of health care and the sciences.

Located on the former site of the McIver Building, the NIB will provide classroom and lab space for the School of Nursing, the School of Health and Human Sciences, the Department of Biology, and the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry. The new facility will include 39 labs, 14 classrooms, nine research suites, and a community engagement center.

The 180,000-square-foot, $105 million facility was made possible thanks to state funds from the Connect NC Bond, passed by North Carolina voters in the spring of 2016.

The new building will bring together STEM students physically and intellectually. This is a significant improvement for the School of Nursing, which is currently scattered across four different buildings.

School of Nursing Dean Robin Remsburg notes the significance of the improved simulation labs in how they will better prepare future health care professionals. “The students will have direct exposure to equipment and technology that mirrors the experiences they will encounter as they care for patients across the continuum of care. It will be a space for imagining, designing, and innovation.”

Patricia A. Sullivan Distinguished Professor of Chemistry Nadja Cech indicates that the new facilities will offer students unique exposure to equipment and skills that will position them for successful entry into various professions.

“Practical engagement with science requires access to sophisticated equipment and facilities,” she says. “State-of-the-art laboratories in the building will provide an environment where students can hone their skills and prepare for careers in diverse fields, including medicine, scientific research, and biotechnology.”

Biology – the second largest major on campus – will benefit from the new NIB as well. The program has reached a 161% lab utilization rate in its existing space. The new building will leverage opportunity for enrollment growth in all of these high-demand fields, including kinesiology and other disciplines in health and human sciences.

UNCG celebrated the official groundbreaking of the five-story building in April of 2018. It has taken shape since then, with construction crews using more than 1,500 tons of structural steel and 145 tons of metal decking.

The new building is projected to be open and fully operational by the beginning of Spring Semester 2021.

NIB’s feature highlights:

  • High-tech nursing simulation spaces (sim labs) allow for hands-on training identical to hospitals and other real-world settings.
  • A stairatorium
    – a combination of a stairwell and stepped seating area in the heart of the building – invites communal gathering and studying.      
  • Advanced air conditioning and filtration systems make the NIB one of the greenest buildings on campus.     
  • Electric vehicle charging stations support sustainable transportation.    
  • A rooftop patio with recycled pavers, Catalpa trees, and solar panels.

ARTS PLACE, AT THE INTERSECTION OF CREATIVITY AND INNOVATION

The edges of campus are ideal, liminal spaces of opportunity and exchange, where the public university meets the local community it serves – physically, culturally, and programmatically. A proposed Arts Place near the corner of Tate Street and Gate City Boulevard would encourage such exchange, while fostering creativity and collaboration.

The proposed community- and arts-focused complex will establish a multi-purpose, facility that will serve UNCG and contribute to Greensboro’s vibrant arts community and culture.

A key aspect of the new building’s design will be to to support projects that are interactive, technologically-enabled, and highly visible. With state-of-the-art connectivity and reconfigurable walls, floors, seats, ceilings, and lights, Arts Place would host multimedia artworks and performances, internet-based creative works, and projects that take advantage of emerging technology. Glass walls will be to allow projects, exhibitions, and activities to be visible from passers-by on Gate City Boulevard and Tate Street. The complex will be a highly noticeable cornerstone for people entering and leaving campus.

The proposed design includes a large main space with a modular or flexible back wall, one side of which will serve as an art gallery and pre-performance lobby space, while the other wall can be designated as an “innovation wall” that offers endless possibilities for use.

As the first new building to be designed and erected from scratch as a part of the newly designed Millennial Campus corridor, the facility will serve as an example of the enriching, transformative spirit behind the Campus Master Plan.

THE NEXT CHAPTER FOR JACKSON LIBRARY

Jackson Library has served generations. But a much-needed renovation and expansion is on the horizon for the campus landmark. In addition to accommodating a growing student population, new features would support events, recruitment, digital scholarship, and community outreach.

The way students and faculty use a library has changed, and expectations for accessibility have risen. Updates to the library’s infrastructure would meet these modern standards.

While the historic original building would be preserved, Jackson’s envisioned metamorphosis would transform the functionality and appearance of the facility, and reposition it as the central hub of activity on campus – academically, geographically, socially, and technologically.

A rendering of the proposed Jackson Library renovation and expansion.

WIRED AND INSPIRED ON GATE CITY BOULEVARD

A future of possibilities exists along the Gate City Boulevard Millennial Campus corridor. One is a proposed hub for technology and health science-related research, community-related programs, and University administrative functions. The proposed facility will potentially host technology support services, academic programs, innovative research facilities, and space for private and community partners.

The new tech complex could serve as a hub for a wide range of joint community initiatives and new business partnerships aimed at creating a “Smart Corridor” in Greensboro and across the region.

Consistent with the overall Millennial Campus strategy, Chancellor Gilliam emphasizes that inviting community partners to participate in the proposed Gate City Boulevard arts and technology facilities – in terms of programming and financial investment – will be key.

“The types of partnerships we envision for these areas will bring a combination of academic, cultural, scientific, and community engagement value to UNCG and to Greensboro,” he says. “We believe that by working thoughtfully with our partners, we can become a national model for how the ‘Millennial Campus’ designation can benefit a university as well as its hometown.”

The centralized location of UNCG within the city encourages a strong synergy between campus and the surrounding communities, one that will be vital in the midst of the economic downturn and in the decades beyond.

Jackson library renovation

Nursing and Instructional Building

The Arts Place at Tate and Gate

  • Jackson library renovation

  • Nursing and Instructional Building

  • The Arts Place at Tate and Gate

ILLUMINATING FUTURE PATHS

Innovation. Expanded artistic practice. Enhanced learning, teaching, health care training, and community engagement. These plans and projects are a catalyst for transformative change and the manifestation of a deep commitment to supporting a thriving campus, one that embraces the opportunities of the future while upholding its strong tradition of diversity, upward social mobility, and rising to the challenges of our time.

The new tech complex could serve as a hub for a wide range of joint community initiatives and new business partnerships aimed at creating a “Smart Corridor” in Greensboro and across the region.

Consistent with the overall Millennial Campus strategy, Chancellor Gilliam emphasizes that inviting community partners to participate in the proposed Gate City Boulevard arts and technology facilities – in terms of programming and financial investment – will be key.

“The types of partnerships we envision for these areas will bring a combination of academic, cultural, scientific, and community engagement value to UNCG and to Greensboro,” he says. “We believe that by working thoughtfully with our partners, we can become a national model for how the ‘Millennial Campus’ designation can benefit a university as well as its hometown.”

The centralized location of UNCG within the city encourages a strong synergy between campus and the surrounding communities, one that will be vital in the midst of the economic downturn and in the decades beyond.

Story by Matthew Bryant

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