This map indicates the existing Boone Creek culvert, in black, and the study area, in red, that are part of an initial feasibility study underway with Jennings Environmental. Image courtesy of New River Conservancy. Click on the image for a full view of the map.
The daylighting of Boone Creek is one of several major construction projects underway or being planned over the next three to five years at Appalachian State University to enhance the Appalachian Experience.
The project supports the strategic plan of Appalachian and the university’s goals and metrics associated with the University of North Carolina System’s strategic plan. It will benefit students, academics and the community.
Daylighting Boone Creek in the area of Duncan Hall and Peacock Hall aligns with the objective included in the Master Plan 2025 to improve Rivers Street and expose the campus’s natural ecosystems.
It would allow this section of Boone Creek to become a place for education, contemplation and natural inspiration, while also helping mitigate flooding and storm water run-off issues — much as Durham Park has become for a lower section of Boone Creek near the main campus entrance.
In connection with this project is the possible construction of a parking deck near Peacock Hall with 600-plus spaces and the redesign of traffic flow for buses.
An early concept drawing of what the exposed Boone Creek and redesigned parking and traffic flow near Peacock Hall might look like. Image courtesy of Planning, Design and Construction
A feasibility study is underway this fall for the creek’s daylighting. As part of the study, the university, New River Conservancy, Town of Boone and Jennings Environmental hosted two information and listening sessions about the project Oct. 7, 2019. A report is expected in early 2020.
For the parking deck, the university will develop possible designs and cost estimates later this spring and also seek Millennial Campus status to enable a wider variety of funding sources.
How is it funded?
A feasibility study currently underway with Jennings Environmental is being funded by the NC Clean Water Management Trust Fund, Appalachian State University and the Town of Boone.
Who will benefit?
The entire campus and local community will benefit for technical and aesthetic reasons. Storm water control in this area is expected to improve conditions downstream, while a visible creek with natural plants along Rivers Street will enhance the beauty of this major thoroughfare. Science students whose professors use the exposed Boone Creek as a learning tool will also benefit through research and class activities.
How does it support UNC System Goals and Metrics?
An enhanced campus designed with students, faculty, staff and the public in mind supports recruitment and retention of all members of the university and local communities.
Major current projects:
- Conservatory for Biodiversity Education and Research
- Appalachian 105
- Residence halls
- Kidd Brewer Stadium — North End Zone
- Child Development Center Expansion
- Sanford Hall
- Arts Corridor
- Wey Hall
- Boone Creek Daylighting
Capital projects at Appalachian continue, as Gov. Roy Cooper’s March 27, 2020, stay-at-home order considers construction, specifically for housing and on government property, as an essential business activity. For employee safety, contractors are taking protective measures against the coronavirus.
Construction at App State continues because:
• Discontinuing projects would severely impact project costs to the state, requiring more money to re-start an abandoned project and increasing the risk of material delays and some subcontractors going out of business.
• The new residence halls being built under a public-private partnership constitute a ground lease, whereby a private developer has created a timeline and is managing the construction privately. The financial feasibility of the project is based on a specific timeline tied to the academic year.
• In other construction on campus, bond money was approved by Appalachian’s Board of Trustees and the Board of Governors of the University of North Carolina System. Appalachian has a fiduciary responsibility to execute construction in the shortest time possible. And, much like a homeowner building a new home with a construction loan, the university is already making payments on the project.
An aerial view of areas receiving millennial campus designation at Appalachian State University. Video by Marie Freeman