NC bonds promise big return for UNC Charlotte and region

Mar 7, 2016 | Economic Development

Short video explains the critical need for UNC Charlotte’s science programs.

If voters OK $2 billion in statewide bonds on the March 15 ballot, UNC Charlotte will get a much needed new science building. Our region could also gain through higher-paying jobs, new businesses and higher tax revenues.

The Connect NC bonds include $1.33 billion for higher education statewide and, locally, $90 million for a science building at UNC Charlotte, the state’s fastest growing university. Gov. Pat McCrory and the Legislature strongly back the bonds, with good reason: the return on higher-education investment to NC workers, taxpayers and companies was a staggering $17 billion in 2012-13 alone.

The economic impact of UNC Charlotte and its graduates on the Charlotte region is equally impressive: $2.1 billion in just the 2012-13 fiscal year, according to a study by CareerBuilder’s research arm, Emsi. Putting that another way, every $1 of taxpayer investment in UNC Charlotte generates a 14.8% return, the Emsi study found.

“UNC Charlotte provides an indispensable value to our region,” says UNC Charlotte Chancellor Philip L. Dubois. “Higher education is a key economic driver in the Charlotte region.”

Big returns from previous education bonds

The Connect NC $2 billion bond package for infrastructure improvements is the first statewide bond issue since 2000. That $3.1 billion bond package, totally devoted to higher education, passed with 70% voter approval. A 2010 review credits the 2000 bond package with creating or saving more than 118,000 jobs.

Sixteen years and 2 million more NC residents later, the Legislature is again seeking voter OK for statewide bonds. The Connect NC $2 billion bond package includes money for several needs, including parks, water-treatment facilities and $350 million for the state’s community colleges.

The $980 million for the UNC university system is heavily focused on the sciences, technology, engineering and math – considered the key fields for global economic competitiveness.

New bonds will keep UNC Charlotte growing

The Connect NC bond package would allow the university to replace its aging and overcrowded Burson Building, erected in 1985 when enrollment barely topped 11,000. UNC Charlotte today has 28,000 students including 5,200 graduate students. Half of current students with declared majors are in science, technology, engineering and math programs.

Current lab space is inadequate to support the undergraduate and graduate teaching programs alongside the university’s research programs, university leaders say. The new building would provide classrooms and undergraduate teaching laboratories and graduate research space for students in physics, chemistry and biology.

Science grads helping fuel our region’s economic growth

Graduates from UNC Charlotte’s strong and growing science and math programs are critical to hundreds of area businesses and essential for recruiters hoping to attract more high-paying companies in key growth fields including:

  • Health and life sciences – More than 10,000 people work in these fields in the Charlotte region, which has the largest concentration of medical-device manufacturers in the Carolinas, the $1 billion NC Research Campus in Kannapolis, and the third largest healthcare system in the U.S., Carolinas HealthCare System.
  • Aerospace – Over 140 aerospace suppliers including BAE Systems, Curtiss-Wright Controls and Michelin employ over 20,000 workers in the design and manufacture of high-tech products ranging from composites and metals to engine systems and control systems.
  • Energy and environment – Charlotte’s emergence as a national energy hub has strong ties to both the UNC Charlotte EPIC energy center and three companies with major facilities in University Research Park: Duke Energy; the energy-focused engineering company Areva; and EPRI, one of the nation’s leading energy research companies.

Learn more about Connect NC bonds


Receive Up to Date News

Receive Economic Development News

View Past Newsletters

View Post by Category

Press Releases

Meet our new intern, Haley Chilcott

Haley Chilcott is our new Marketing Communications Intern here at University City Partners. Haley is an undergraduate student at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte and is majoring in Communications, with a concentration in Public Relations. After graduation...

University City Partners welcomes our newest board members

  University City Partners welcomes its newest members of the UCP Board of Directors: Charlotte City Manager Marcus Smith and Michael Fung, a regional leader for Wells Fargo's Corporate Properties Group. The University City Partners Board of Directors consists of...

Response to tragic police incident and unrest

Last night our community was at the center of a tragic police incident followed by several hours of demonstration, aggressive agitation and unrest. Our neighborhoods, businesses, retail centers and institutions were impacted with activity that has left us all feeling...

Introducing our UNC Charlotte interns

University City Partners is proud to introduce our "Class of 2016" - our fall semester interns from UNC Charlotte. Seniors Hollis Maye-Keye and Cagney Reeves will help us with communications and planning - key functions for our success. We encourage you to consider...

UCP video report: Planning for our transit-powered future

University City Partners has launched a new feature - a monthly video report on how we are investing time and resources to build University City. Today's report: UCP is leading a planning effort to make the area around the future JW Clay Transit station a more...

Our 2016 Annual Report chronicles a landmark year

The dramatic changes taking place across University City can be hard to keep up with - unless you have the University City Partners annual report. Our brand new 2016 University City Partners Annual Report chronicles these changes over the past year (July 2015-June...

University City Partners welcomes new board members

University City Partners welcomes four new members to its board of directors, including two UNC Charlotte grads. Tracy Dodson with Lincoln Harris, John McAlister with Electrolux, Phil Nicholenko with TIAA and Jane Wu, founder of Carolina States Regional Center, have...

Thanks for taking our survey; we heard you!

Our recent invitation to take a brief survey about University City Partners drew more than 100 participants and many useful responses. ”The survey was like a pulse check to make sure that what we are hearing in our meetings also represents the opinions of all of the...

University City Partners adds planning & development director

Tobe Holmes has joined University City Partners as its planning and development director. Holmes, formerly with Center City Partners, will oversee all UCP planning and development initiatives. At Center City Partners, Holmes managed economic and community development...

Meet our UNC Charlotte interns

One benefit of having UNC Charlotte nearby is the amazing wealth of student interns. We landed three of the best this semester: Meredith Avant (Communications with PR concentration), Miguel Avila (Economics with innovation focus), and Charles Trowell (Architecture...