Budget plans moving UNC System offices, potential remake for downtown Raleigh government campus
Posted November 18, 2021 11:49 a.m. EST
Updated November 18, 2021 12:12 p.m. EST
Raleigh, N.C. — The new state budget makes a down payment on a long-discussed move for the University of North Carolina System offices from Chapel Hill to Raleigh, a change that could end up overhauling parts of the state government campus in downtown Raleigh.
Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger said Wednesday he sees synergies between the UNC System, the North Carolina Community College System, the state Department of Public Instruction and the state Department of Commerce.
Berger, R-Rockingham, said he’d like to see them all in one building – or at least one campus.
“Maybe just one building, it may be a couple of buildings,” he said. “But I think they need to be in close proximity.”
UNC System spokespeople did not return phone messages or an email this week seeking comment on the prospect of the move.
Commerce and DPI already share a building on Halifax Mall behind the Legislative Building downtown. The community college system office is nearby on West Jones Street.
There is $1.8 million in the budget’s first year to study the downtown government complex in general, and moving the UNC System office there specifically. There is $3.75 million in the budget’s second year to lease temporary space for the office’s staff ahead of a permanent move. They're supposed to be in the temporary space by the end of 2022, and the lease should run between three and four years, the budget states.
There’s $11.4 million to plan and design a new university system headquarters in downtown Raleigh, with the total cost of that project pegged in the budget at about $100 million.
The move may be a precursor to combining governance of the UNC and community college systems, something Berger has expressed interest in, The Assembly reported earlier this month.
The moves might mean knocking down an existing building.
“I can’t say that there’s a plan to do that,” Berger said, “but I wouldn’t say that that would be out of the question.”