Our Environment

July 22, 2014

My brother-in-law visits the School

pic1My brother-in-law, Carl Glassman, visited over the weekend. It was great to catch up with him. He stopped by the School, and I walked him around. As we walked and talked, I got a new appreciation for just how much our facilities have improved over the last pic4several years. When I first arrived here, the halls felt a little like a high school. Now, it’s completely different.

Renovations eight years ago brought us new floors, dropped ceilings with great light fixtures, new paint and a lot of other features. Then, we asked students, members pic5of the faculty and staff, and others at UNC to submit photos of places they’d visited for projects, research and practica. Now, the halls are filled with the stories these photos tell—of places near and far, cultures familiar and unfamiliar—that collectively tell a story about us, the people of the School. (Thanks to Linda Kastleman, Rob Kark, Brent Wishart and others for helping select the photos and getting them framed and hung.)

pic2We walked upstairs to the new classroom (2308 McGavran-Greenberg), which has been a hit with faculty members and students. I love the sorghum wood outside the room, the bright gold paint and the fabulous windows that look out on wonderful crepe myrtles this time of year.I walked Carl over to the new student collaboration spaces, the first one made possible by a gift from alumna Deniese Chaney, MPH. Students use thesepic3 spaces constantly to work alone, in pairs and in groups.

It takes a lot of planning to create these new spaces. Working within a state system, we have to first find funds to do planning studies, then bid work, and stage it over a fiscal year to make sure that we’ll have the funds to support the work. It requires exquisite saving, staging, negotiating, managing contractors and anticipating issues that arise. We’ve got a great business and finance team, and members of our facilities staff have been fabulous. We were terribly sad to lose Rob Kark to the School of Medicine but grateful that he has arranged a long transition.


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The views expressed in this blog are Barbara Rimer’s alone and do not represent the views and policies of The University of North Carolina or the Gillings School.