The new NPHC Plots and Garden project beside I.G. Greer Hall. Click on the image for a full view. Photo by Marie Freeman
NPHC Plots and Garden was one of several major construction projects completed recently 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 benefits students and the community.
For more than 50 years, historically black colleges and universities across the United States have developed a tradition of providing a gathering space for the National Pan-Hellenic Council or NPHC. With its NPHC Plots and Garden project, Appalachian is among a very few predominantly white institutions (PWIs) that also pay tribute to the legacy of African-American Greek life.
Like many black Greek letter organization traditions, the development of plots can be traced to the days of slavery, and later, the division of Confederate land after the end of the Civil War for homestead development. Plots are constructed to symbolically and physically represent each black Greek letter organization's presence on campus and to give alumni and current members a location for reflection and celebration.
Students, staff and NPHC alumni have been advocating for this project for nearly 10 years. It gained significant momentum in 2017–18, when Chancellor Everts dedicated space for the NPHC during 2017 Homecoming festivities and crews began construction in June 2018. The site is located next to the Veterans Memorial in front of I.G. Greer Hall, near the B.B. Dougherty Administration Building.
Construction is complete. An unveiling was held Sept. 29, 2018, during homecoming festivities. Fundraising efforts surpassed $150,000 under the leadership of alumna Trustee Susan Branch '99, alumnus James Tolliver '96 and alumnus J.K. Reaves '93. Gifts are still being accepted under The Divine Nine Leadership Development Endowment, a newly created fund derived from the Plots and Garden project to provide leadership grants and awards to students within NPHC.
How is it funded?
The project is funded through institutional support as well as money raised by Appalachian NPHC affiliated alumni, faculty, staff and other friends.
Who will benefit?
The entire campus community, and especially members of the seven NPHC fraternities and sororities with chapters at Appalachian. This space signifies yet another way that the University of North Carolina System and Appalachian value diversity and inclusive excellence and the benefits these principles bring to campus and the community.
How does it support UNC System Goals and Metrics?
By demonstrating support of diversity and inclusive excellence, the university validates all members of the campus community. When underrepresented students, staff and faculty feel validated, they are more likely to succeed.
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