To NC State Faculty, Staff and Students:
I hope the spring semester is going well for you. The warm weather is just around the corner.
NC State continues to build momentum, which is helping to propel us into 2016 full-steam ahead. One initiative that can keep North Carolina and NC State moving forward is the Connect NC Act. It’s a $2 billion bond referendum that will provide critical support for our university system, community colleges, National Guard, agriculture, state parks, water and sewer systems and more.
Its impact will benefit all of North Carolina and touch every citizen. Because of the state’s financial standing, passage of the bond will not result in a tax increase. If passed, the Connect NC bond will help keep our state strong now and decades into the future.
More than two-thirds of the bond will go to fund critical improvements in higher education.
$350 million will fund needed upgrades to modernize the state’s 58 community colleges. $980 million will go toward capital projects that focus on STEM education, medical sciences and business for the 17 UNC system campuses.
At NC State, the bond includes $160 million to support agriculture and engineering, two critical drivers of economic development and jobs across North Carolina.
The bond will fund major projects to enhance academic, research and outreach opportunities through the construction of the Engineering Oval and the Plant Sciences Initiative buildings on Centennial Campus. In addition to support from the bond, it is important to note that NC State has committed to raise nearly $145 million in private funds to complete these two critical projects.
The new Engineering Oval building will enhance the university’s ability to continue to attract and support the world’s best engineering students and faculty. The building will include more than 100 classrooms and state-of-the-art laboratories to advance research excellence.
NC State is also a national leader in agricultural research and education, including plant sciences.
The Plant Sciences Initiative building will use an interdisciplinary systems approach in a world-class research facility to increase crop yields, diversify nutrition, improve sustainability and extend growing seasons. All that, while also supporting agribusiness — the No. 1 sector in North Carolina’s economy, at $78 billion per year.
These two facilities are important to the future of this great university and we are grateful to the Governor and our legislators for their support. They understand the return on that investment, and the incredible, positive ramifications all of the projects in the Connect NC Bond can have.
The Connect NC Bond vote will take place on March 15, 2016. I hope you will support it at the polls.