This site of the former Broyhill Inn and Conference Center will house Appalachian’s Conservatory for Biodiversity Education and Research, as part of the new Innovation Campus. Click on the image for a full view. Photo by Marie Freeman
The Conservatory for Biodiversity Education and Research 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.
This will be the first building of the Innovation Campus, which will be located at the site of the former Broyhill Inn and Conference Center on Bodenheimer Drive. It will be a vital link between the campus and the regional community through education, research and outreach.
The conservatory and nearby Nature Preserve Trailhead will advance the natural and cultural history of the Southern Appalachian region, allowing the Appalachian Community and visitors to:
- understand the natural history and economic importance of our region’s biodiversity;
- gain a heightened appreciation of the research and creative endeavors being conducted at Appalachian.
The conservatory will build on existing opportunities available through the Department of Biology’s teaching and research facilities.
A 360-degree view of the future Innovation Campus site, which will include the Conservatory for Biodiversity Education and Research. Video by Marie Freeman
Clark Nexsen, the architectural engineering firm hired by the university to conduct a feasibility study, presented a report Jan. 30, 2019, after weeks of meeting with a variety of stakeholders to determine the best mix of gardens, conservatory, labs and meeting space. The report is being reviewed by university leaders.
This schematic reflects initial ideas shared by Department of Biology faculty on how the conservatory could be arranged at the site of the former Broyhill Inn and Conference Center.
How is it funded?
Expenses for a feasibility study, the first step in developing this project, are being paid with state funds through the Division of Academic Affairs.
Who will benefit?
Students in Appalachian’s College of Arts and Sciences and their faculty mentors will use the conservatory’s state-of-the art research space for basic and applied research. Visitors, including K-12 students and community members, will benefit from the scientific exhibits and demonstrations informed by the research conducted at the facility.
How does it support UNC System Goals and Metrics?
Appalachian can produce more graduates in the critical workforce areas for North Carolina — identified in the UNC System’s strategic plan as STEM, K-12 education, health sciences, and emerging workforce areas — who are capable of addressing the needs of the world.
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