Pisgah House Questions &
What is Pisgah House?
Pisgah House is a new, multi-purpose facility that will serve as the
residence for current and future UNC Asheville Chancellors, as well as a
location for University-hosted meetings, receptions, dinners, programs and
performances. Each campus in the University of North Carolina system is
required to provide a residence for its chancellor.
Where will it be located?
Pisgah House and its access drive will be located on two acres of the
50-acre property owned by the University that is bordered by W.T. Weaver
Boulevard and Broadway. The entrance to Pisgah House will be just off W.T.
Weaver Boulevard. The access drive will intersect with the entrance road to
the U.S. Forest Service Southern Research Station. To see the site map,
please go to www.unca.edu/news/pisgah_house_map.html.
Why did the University select the W.T. Weaver Boulevard site?
The UNC Asheville Board of Trustees looked at three locations on
University-owned land that were not in the core of the campus, which is
reserved for future academic buildings. The sites the Board considered were:
the Chestnut Ridge property, which sits above the N.C. Center for
Retirement's Reuter Center; the bottomland to the left of UNC Asheville's
entrance; and the W.T. Weaver Boulevard property. The Chestnut Ridge
property was ruled out because the 60-space parking area the site required
was too environmentally intrusive. The bottomland was ruled out because it
was in the Glenn Creek flood plain. The W.T. Weaver Boulevard property was
selected because of its absence of old growth trees (the land had been
cleared previously when it was used as a dairy farm); because of its
proximity to the U.S. Forest Service Southern Research Station
entrance road and parking lot; because of its proximity to the University's
food service, which negated the need to add catering facilities to Pisgah
House; and because it is a walkable distance from the main campus, an
important aspect of UNC Asheville's sustainability efforts.
How is the project being paid for?
Pisgah House is a privately funded project of the UNC Asheville Foundation.
While classroom buildings are funded by state allocations and bond
referendums, each campus in the University of North Carolina system is
required to provide a residence for its chancellor. The UNC Asheville
Foundation has raised more than $1.5 million in private support for the
public portion of the building, grounds and the building’s infrastructure.
Net proceeds from sale of the former chancellor's residence on Macon Avenue
have funded a significant part of the residential portion of the new building.
When completed, the Foundation will donate Pisgah House to the state for use
by UNC Asheville.
How large will Pisgah House be?
The two-story facility will be approximately 6,253 square feet. The
first-floor public space will occupy two-thirds of
the square footage and second-floor Chancellor's Residence will occupy
one-third of the total square footage. Pisgah House will have a parking area for six cars. The
public space will be used for University-hosted meetings, receptions,
programs and performances, and dinners. To see a rendering, please go to
Who is the architect and builder?
The Hendersonville-based firm Ken Gaylord Architects/Black Hawk Construction
has been selected as the Pisgah House designer and contractor. Gaylord has
worked with the UNC Asheville Foundation to define a type of architecture
called "Blue Ridge Style," so that Pisgah House will look as though it
belongs in Asheville and nowhere else in the nation.
What is the construction timeline?
began in October 2007 and is expected to be completed in
fall 2009. Every step is being taken to minimize disruption of the
local neighborhood during the construction of Pisgah House. Ken Gaylord
Architects, the designer and contractor for Pisgah House, is responsible for
ensuring that the neighborhood is shown respect during construction and for
complying with the City of Asheville's building ordinances for work hours,
containment of debris, mud ramps and fencing the work site for safety.
Construction crews are typically on site Mondays through Fridays,
although as with any construction project, there will be occasions when
Saturday work is required. Construction hours are 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., but may
on occasion extend to 7 p.m. All operations fully comply
with the City of Asheville Noise Ordinance (Article IV, Section 10-84.11).
The project also fully complies with erosion and sedimentation control
site requirements of the N.C. Department of Environmental and Natural
Resources’ Division of Land Resources. Because Pisgah House is being built
on state-owned land, the North Carolina State Construction Office and the
North Carolina Department of Insurance have jurisdiction over construction
Does the public still have access to the trails on the W.T. Weaver
Yes, UNC Asheville's neighbors still have full access to the extensive
trail system on the property. Because of safety issues, those portions of
the trail passing closest to the Pisgah House site were redirected before
construction began. Cyclists remain able to
ride across the property to campus. The trails are posted. To see a trail map
UNC Asheville has long been a supporter of walking trails and bike paths in
the city. The University partnered with the City of Asheville to create the
first two segments of the citywide Greenway, which run along Glenn's Creek
on W.T. Weaver Boulevard. UNC Asheville continues to maintain this portion
of the Greenway. The University also continues to increase its bike lanes on
campus, with a new segment added last summer.
Will Pisgah House create increased traffic in the Montview-Mt. Clare
No, there should be no increased traffic through the
Montview-Mt. Clare neighborhood. The only access road to Pisgah House is off the U.S. Forest Service Southern Research Station’s entrance road. There
an access road from the Montview-Mt. Clare neighborhood. In addition to
evening usage of the parking area at the National Forest Service's Southern
Research Station, UNC Asheville's existing shuttle service will be used to
transport people from campus to events at Pisgah House.
Do you really think people will use the campus shuttles?
Yes, the University uses them regularly with great success. Shuttles are one
aspect of UNC Asheville's ongoing efforts to reduce vehicular traffic and increase the
use of mass transit, bicycling, and walking.
What about road access to the U.S. Forest
Service Southern Research Station during construction?
The Southern Research Station's entrance road will be open to
normal traffic throughout construction.
What about lighting at the Pisgah House once it's completed? How
bright is it going to be?
The lighting will be like that of any other home. There will be no "stadium"
What green features will Pisgah House have?
Pisgah House will be energy efficient and is being built using sustainable
construction practices, materials and equipment. Emphasis has been placed on
site selection and orientation, conservation of water resources,
bio-retention basins and native plant landscaping. Impact on the environment
will be further reduced by coordinating parking with the U.S. Forest Service
Southern Research Station, thereby reducing the amount of paved area needed
adjacent to the building.
Will UNC Asheville Chancellors actually live there?
Yes, Pisgah House will be the actual residence of the current Chancellor and
her family. Future UNC Asheville Chancellors will use Pisgah House as their
residence as well. Each campus in the University of North Carolina system is
required to provide a residence for its chancellor.
I have heard that UNC Asheville is building a five-acre development.
Is that true?
No, it's not. The UNC Asheville Board of Trustees set aside five acres of
the 50-acre property to allow the architect and planners the ability to
fine-tune the site selection for a single facility. Two of the five acres
will be used for Pisgah House, its grounds and access drive.
I have heard that Pisgah House will be a conference center. Is that
No, it's not. Pisgah House will be the site for smaller
meetings. A reception there will typically have 20 to 50 guests. Larger
receptions at the beginning and the end of the academic year may have
several hundred guests, who will be able to ride shuttles or walk from
campus. The convocation center you may be thinking of is part of the
Center for Health & Wellness that UNC Asheville is building
adjacent to Justice Center on the main campus. The convocation center will
be used for national speakers, conferences and other large meetings, as well
as a venue for basketball games.
Are you aware that there are graves on the W.T. Weaver Boulevard
property? What will happen to them?
Yes, UNC Asheville is aware of the presence of an abandoned cemetery on the
W.T. Weaver Boulevard property and that area was purposely avoided when
determining the Pisgah House site. Pisgah House will not be located near the
cemetery and none of the graves will be disturbed during construction. The
cemetery is estimated to date from the early- to mid-19th century. An
examination of local property records, burial records and oral histories
from area residents did not shed any additional light on the cemetery's
origin nor the identity of those who may be buried there. UNC Asheville
welcomes any documentation concerning the cemetery and graves.
What about the trees on the property? What will happen to them?
The great majority of the trees, including the large oaks at the back of the
property, have not be disturbed. Trees within the Pisgah House site are, for
the most part, white pines, which seeded the site once the dairy property
was no longer in use. The lack of old-growth trees at this site was one of
the reasons for its selection, and the Pisgah House and access road have
been specifically sited to minimize impact on hardwoods. University
staff members, who are very familiar with the property, carefully walked
the Pisgah House site with the architect and the contractors and tagged
trees within the zone that have been protected during construction. Those trees
that were taken down will be reused for other campus construction projects.
Invasive species on the Pisgah House grounds
have been removed, and native and
non-invasive species will be added. The University hopes to begin
propagation of native species in the near future because some species are
not readily available from commercial growers.
Will UNC Asheville's natural sciences faculty and students still be
able to conduct research on the W.T. Weaver Boulevard property?
they will continue to be able to conduct environmental research on the
property. In addition, faculty and students are currently conducting or have
the opportunity to conduct research on the Chestnut Ridge property, which is
owed by the University and sits above the N.C. Center for Creative
Retirement's Reuter Center, and at Sandy Bottom, a 50-acre wetlands near the
Blue Ridge Parkway and North Carolina Arboretum that was a gift to the
University and is held in conservancy for scientific research.
How did you inform the neighborhood about the project?
Here is the timeline:
■ July 25, 2005:
A news release announcing the UNC Asheville Board of
Trustees' intent to sell the former Chancellor's Residence on Macon
Avenue and build a new multi- purpose facility on or near campus was sent to
area print, television and radio media outlets and posted on UNC Asheville's
News & Events Web page.
■ August 3-4, 2005: The Asheville Citizen-Times and The Daily Planet both
ran stories on the Board of Trustees' approval of the sale of the Macon
Avenue house and plans for a new facility.
■ August 25, 2005:
A news release was sent to area print, television and
radio media outlets and posted on UNC Asheville's News & Events web page
announcing the UNC Asheville Board of Trustees' selection on August 24 of the W.T. Weaver
Boulevard property as the site for Pisgah House and providing specifics for
the upcoming neighborhood informational session.
■ August 25, 2005: A letter of invitation to a community meeting and the
August 25 news release mentioned above, were mailed to residents of the
Montview-Mt. Clare Neighborhood.
■ August 29, 2005: The informational session for the Montview-Mt. Clare
neighborhood was held at 7 p.m. in the Owen Conference Center. Some 19
community members attended, as well as a number of UNC Asheville
administrators and staff. Those attending were given fact sheets and maps of
the property. In addition, large-scale visuals were on view that showed the
location of Pisgah House as it relates to the neighborhood and University
■ November 2006: A Pisgah House web site was
developed that provides project information, site and trail maps, as well as
links to news releases. Regular updates will continue to be posted to
www.unca.edu/construction/Pisgah.html throughout Pisgah House
■ February 14, 2007: Oversized postcards from the UNC Asheville Foundation
were mailed to the Montview-Mt. Clare neighborhood inviting residents to an
update and discussion concerning Pisgah House to be held February 27, 2007.
■ February 19, 2007:
A news release announcing the upcoming neighborhood
meeting was sent to area print, television and radio media outlets, and
posted on UNC Asheville's News & Events web page and the Pisgah House web
■ February 23, 2007: The Asheville Citizen-Times ran a short article
concerning the concerning the upcoming meeting.
■ February 27, 2007: A dozen community members attended the update and
discussion meeting, along with several UNC Asheville administrators and
staff. Speakers included architect Ken Gaylord. Topics included the
relocation of a portion of the walking trails and the preservation of trees.
New fact sheets were provided and large-scale visuals of the design of the
facility and its location were on view.
How did you inform the campus about the Pisgah House project?
UNC Asheville faculty, students and staff were invited to the August 29,
2005 session and a campuswide update and discussion session held February
26, 2007. In addition, senior academic officers have met with the natural
sciences faculty to develop effective planning protocols for ongoing and
future outdoor biological and environmental research. Regular updates will
be posted to the Pisgah House web site throughout construction.
At one of the community meetings the University hosted for the
neighborhood, I saw a list of Guiding Values for Pisgah House.
Yes, here they are. The University is committed to:
■ Designing a facility that defines a Blue Ridge style of architecture, so
the Pisgah House will look as though it belongs here and nowhere else in the
■ Designing a facility that honors the neighborhood in scale and style, and
that opens out to lawns and park-like areas
■ Designing a facility that is energy efficient and built using sustainable
construction practices, materials and equipment
■ Reducing the impact on the natural environment by coordinating parking
with the National Forest Service, thereby reducing the amount of parking
needed adjacent to Pisgah House
■ Designing the residential portion in a manner that will accommodate future
chancellors whose families might be smaller, larger, younger or older than
the current chancellor
■ Using local architects, builders, craftspeople, designers, materials and
supplies to the fullest extent possible. We want to embrace the craft and
design culture of Western North Carolina and the planned Craft Campus at UNC
Asheville, which is part of the HUB Project, a regional economic development
■ Creating a front porch to the University, which will become a place where
meetings, gatherings, discussion and entertainment can take place in a
Who should I contact if I have questions? Is there a mailing list?
Regular updates will be posted to the Pisgah House web site:
For general information about Pisgah House, please contact UNC Asheville's
News Services Office at
828/251-6526 or e-mail email@example.com. Please contact
the Public Information Office as well if you wish to be added to the e-mail
list or print mailing list for future University communications regarding
For questions concerning construction of Pisgah House,
please call UNC Asheville Campus Operations at 828/232-5031 or e-mail:
Updated July 2009
UNC Asheville News Services Offices