UNC Asheville is evaluating a number of
alternative sites to host the planned Craft Campus after extensive
evaluation of the former Buncombe County landfill site has revealed
Other sites that will be studied are on University property and
located in closer proximity to central campus allowing for better
integration of the Craft Campus to the lives of students, staff and
faculty. University officials are developing a final list of
possible sites to be evaluated in the next few months.
Chancellor Anne Ponder said of the decision, "UNC Asheville remains
fully committed to building a sustainable, environmentally
responsible craft studio and education facility that allows our
faculty, students and community to engage in craft practice and
research at the highest level. We very much appreciate the support
of Buncombe County throughout this exploratory process and look
forward to working with the county on future initiatives."
As University officials worked with Buncombe County staff on
construction planning, financial projections and site boundaries on
the landfill site, it became apparent that the site was not a viable
location. While initial plans called for using free methane gas as
an alternative energy source for the campus, the cost projections of
extracting and piping the methane, along with maintaining the
infrastructure necessary, proved that plan economically unrealistic,
according Brent Skidmore, director of the Craft Campus.
"The design process for the Craft Campus, by definition, is one of
discovery and problem solving," Skidmore said. "We started with a
very unusual, potentially transformative and high-level concept for
our craft studios and infrastructure. As we continued work in
December 2008 with our architect and engineers on a more detailed
design and further site analysis, engineering studies and cost
projections showed us that the landfill site was not feasible for
the Craft Campus initiative."
Buncombe County Manager Wanda Greene, who worked with the University
on planning for use of the landfill site, said, "This innovative
project is just the sort of cooperative venture that both the county
and the university want to see continue. Itís unfortunate that as we
worked together on the financial and logistical details, we
discovered that the original concept to use the landfill was not
feasible. We commend the University for its willingness to work with
us, and we look forward to the future contributions the Craft Campus
will make to our community."
Chancellor Ponder said planning for the Craft Campus will continue.
"Our vision remains unchanged: we want to create the leading
undergraduate crafts studies program in the nation and to help
re-center the American studio craft movement in Asheville."
She said the Craft Campus, wherever it is finally sited, "will make
use of every appropriate green and clean technology, so that the
outcome is a sustainable campus and environmentally responsible
facility that will serve as a model of craft education and practice
in the true liberal arts tradition."
The UNC Asheville Board of Trustees was briefed on this decision in
June. The new Board leadership will be involved in future plans and
decisions concerning the project on behalf of the University.