Airport future still in doubt as Carolina North continues forward

RALEIGH – UNC-Chapel Hill officials have long considered using the Horace Williams Airport in Chapel Hill, located just north of the main campus, as the site for Carolina North, the controversial multi-use millennial campus that will feature research and residential components.

The problem with those plans has always been that the Horace Williams Airport is still in use by doctors attempting to provide care to many areas of the state where health care is not readily available. Medical Air Operations, which started in 1968, flies UNC-Chapel Hill physicians to one of the state’s nine Area Health Education Centers (AHECs) to perform medical services and offer continuing education courses.

Nelms selected as new NCCU Chancellor

CHAPEL HILL – North Carolina Central Chancellor Search Committee Chair Cressie Thigpen had reasons to be concerned when he hadn’t heard from the school’s top choice in several days.

Thigpen worried that the individual, having already turned down offers from three other institutions, would make North Carolina Central the fourth.

“We weren’t going to select this candidate,” Thigpen said. “This candidate was going to select us.”

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.

Senate releases $20 billion budget plan

The University of North Carolina’s ambitious construction plans got a boost from the Senate leaders approved their $20 billion spending plan on Thursday.

Senate leaders are proposing $1.2 billion in bond funding through certificates of participation – $1 billion of which would go for projects within the UNC system. Certificate of participations are bond packages in which the state finances new construction projects, backed by buildings and land. These do not need voter approval.

University, community college bills survive crossover deadline

RALEIGH – Thursday was the deadline for bills to clear either the state House or the state Senate for them to have a chance of passage during the 2007-09 legislative session. With the deadline comes the passage of several bills that affect the University of North Carolina system and the North Carolina Community College System.

Among the many bills passed during the first few months of the session, some pertain to UNC President Erskine Bowles’ effort to make the university system more efficient. Others would amend performance measures within the community college system and make other changes to the two higher education systems.

Tuition Waiver Bill Heard in Committee

Members of the House Education Committee Tuesday approved a bill that would begin phasing out a tuition waiver program for graduates of the North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics.

Swett’s nomination should spur changes in UNC Board of Governors selection

CHAPEL HILL – Purnell Swett has a decision to make, and members of the State House of Representatives have some explaining to do.

The newly elected member of the UNC Board of Governors can take his seat on the governing board when his term begins on July 1. He can also decide not to accept his post due to his 1998 conviction for taking money from the school system he headed.

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

RALEIGH – Early Friday morning, while many in North Carolina were sound asleep, state House members approved a $20.3 billion budget that keeps in place temporary taxes that were scheduled to end and provides more than $11 billion in funding for education in the state.

The budget process now moves to the state Senate, where leaders there are expected to make significant changes to the House budget document.

Included in the House budget is $2.5 billion in funding for the University of North Carolina system and $926 million for community colleges. The remainder of the education budget, more than $7.6 billion, goes to the Department of Public Instruction.

UNC discusses safety at policy meeting

CHAPEL HILL – University of North Carolina officials began working on ways to improve campus security weeks before Seung-Hui Cho killed 32 people at Virginia Tech and then himself on April 16.

Originally, UNC officials were responding to incidents at UNC-Greensboro, where a student was shot in a dorm, and at East Carolina, and Winston-Salem State University. Officials were looking at what was needed to improve campus safety. Those meetings involved President Erskine Bowles, chancellors, and campus police chiefs across the system.

Now, in the wake of the Virginia Tech massacre, those discussions now include the Board of Governors (BOG).

“Western 2 Step” Aims at Smoothing Community College Transfers

RALEIGH – A new partnership between Western Carolina University and the North Carolina Community College System intends to help students transfer more seamlessly between the two systems and reduce the amount of time needed to obtain a bachelor’s degree.