Another “Millennial” Campus in the Works

CHAPEL HILL – Approval of a proposed “millennial” campus at UNC-Wilmington will be on the agenda of the Board of Governors this week.

Board members, meeting in Chapel Hill June 7 and 8, will discuss UNC-Wilmington’s plans to create the Campus for Research, Entrepreneurship, Service and Teaching (CREST), a 210-acre campus at the university.

Millennial campuses were approved in 2000 by the General Assembly. According to a UNC-Wilmington statement, such campuses are designed to “promote economic development, entrepreneurial activity, and partnerships with the private sector” using the resources of the university. They are exempt from the Umstead Act, which prohibits state agencies, including universities, from competing directly with businesses. Businesses are welcome at millennial campuses.

Some of the millennial campuses that have been approved in the past include N.C. State’s Centennial Campus, a 2.3-acre site at Appalachian State, and a joint venture between UNC-Greensboro and North Carolina A&T.

UNC- Wilmington’s CREST, according to an executive summary, will feature an initiative for marine biotechnology in North Carolina, a DNA sequencing laboratory, and a health, fitness and nutrition center. Most of CREST’s scheduled programs will focus on marine science, biology, chemistry, criminal justice, nursing and health.

University officials are planning to spread the millennial campus across three sites, with two of the sites located on the main campus. The third will be located seven miles from campus at the Center for Marine Science.

A policy discussion will be held Thursday morning to discuss the school’s plans. The Committee on Budget and Finance is expected to take up the proposal during its meeting Thursday afternoon and is likely to approve it. If so, the full board will probably give final approval on Friday morning.

This meeting will be the final one for six members who are leaving the board at the end of the month. Among the six include the current secretary, Patsy Perry, who leaves the BOG after first being elected in 1999. The other five are F. Edward Broadwell, Jr., William L. Burns Jr., Peter Keber, Charles Norwood, Cary Owen, and Patsy Perry.

Six new members, whose terms of office begin July 1, will replace them. They are Ronald Leatherwood, Marshall B. Pitts, Jr., Frank A. Daniels, Jr., Ann Goodnight, and Clarice Cato Goodyear, who will begin their four-year terms on July 1.

A sixth nominee, Purnell Swett, resigned his seat after public outcry regarding his 1998 conviction for taking money from the Robeson County school system while serving as its superintendent. House members are scheduled to elect a new member to replace Swett today. The first meeting for the new members will be in September, when the board is scheduled to meet again.