by Donna Martinez
Former Senior Writer and Editor, John Locke Foundation
In his Daily Journal, Mitch Kokai writes for Carolina Journal about recent legislative testimony that is raising eyebrows.
At issue for the Joint Legislative Oversight Committee on Capital Improvements was the nearly $1 billion voters approved for UNC as part of the Connect NC Bond Act of 2015. That money is destined for 21 projects across the university system: 11 new buildings focusing on science, technology, engineering, and mathematics; two new business school buildings; a western campus of the N.C. School of Science and Mathematics; and seven major building renovations.
Voters were willing to take on new debt to move these projects forward.
Will Johnson, the system’s associate vice president for finance and capital planning, spent 20 minutes at the Oct. 11 committee meeting offering an overview of the projects’ progress and timelines. But several lawmakers targeted one statistic within Johnson’s 22 slides: the $464 projected average cost per square foot for new campus construction. That included costs of $600 or more per square foot of projects at the flagship campuses in Chapel Hill and Raleigh.
Find out how lawmakers reacted here.