Campus Construction

The Next Year Will Bring New Buildings and Renovation

UNC Asheville is building on its strong liberal arts foundation by renovating academic buildings, expanding spaces for the student experience and community engagement, and constructing apartment-style housing. Together these projects impact the heart of campus, creating state-of-the-art facilities to better serve students, welcome visitors, provide a home away from home, and enhance the learning environment.

Highsmith Union North View; Image provided by Little Diversified / WorkshopRenovations on Highsmith Union have already begun, which will bring the student experience to the front and center of the building, providing meeting spaces and open areas for student organizations, as well as an area to showcase a student art gallery and share the work of the Intercultural Center. Two fireplaces and a coffee shop will contribute to the warm and inviting atmosphere, and a 5,000 square-foot multipurpose room will increase the university’s ability to host campus and community events, from large lectures to banquets and conferences.

The new residences will consist of multiple buildings, three- to four-stories each, with a variety of living options from four- to six-beds in an apartment-style suite. Complete with full kitchens and laundry rooms on site, the residences will encourage collaboration and community and be staffed by a community director. Students will be steps away from their classes in nearby academic buildings.

"For me, this new residence hall means community and home,” said Tim Hussey, 2017-18 president of the Student Government Association (SGA). “Living on campus has granted me the opportunity to know what’s going on and how I can get involved. … There’s a feeling of family here... In these halls are where some of my closest relationships are formed and I hope that proves to be true for the future students who will live in this new residence hall. Residence life provides a sense of family away from your family, and being able to rely on the support of others around is and always will be a crucial part of residence hall life.”

Rendering from Founders Drive; Image provided by HanburyThe estimated costs of the projects are $12.4 million for the renovations to Highsmith Union and $33.8 million for construction of the six-building residence project. Both the student residences and Highsmith Union renovation are self-liquidating projects. The Highsmith renovations are funded through the student debt service fee approved by the on-campus Fee Committee, and the student residences are funded through room charges that have been market tested. Both projects have been approved by the UNC Asheville Board of Trustees, the UNC System Board of Governors, and the North Carolina General Assembly. State appropriations cannot be used to renovate or construct student unions or residence halls.

Student input has been essential to both projects, from the fee discussions through the feasibility study, market study, student surveys, and workshops and community meetings.

“I've heard from many students who are looking forward to the improvements that these projects will bring to campus,” said UNC Asheville 2016-17 Student Government President and Student Trustee Charlie White. “The new residence halls will combine an apartment-style floor plan that many students look for off campus with the convenience of living on campus, and the Highsmith renovation will revitalize the space that student organizations use to collaborate with each other and engage with the campus community.”