Over the last few years, UNC Asheville has been building on its strong liberal arts foundation by renovating academic buildings, expanding spaces for the student experience and community engagement, and constructing apartment-style housing. Together these projects have created state-of-the-art facilities to better serve students, welcome visitors, provide a home away from home, and enhance the learning environment.
Carmichael and Owen Halls
The Connect NC Bond provided $21.1 million to renovate and revitalize Owen Hall and Carmichael Hall, two buildings on UNC Asheville’s campus that were in continuous use for 37 years and 50 years respectively, with no major renovations or improvements. The project allowed UNC Asheville to rethink and reinvent these spaces to facilitate collaboration among multiple academic disciplines across campus, giving our students a competitive advantage as they join a modern workforce dependent on innovation and flexibility across disciplines.
Carmichael Hall, home to the Department of Psychology, reopened in 2020. Owen Hall, home to the Departments of Art & Art History and New Media, reopened in fall 2021.
Student Residences – The Woods
UNC Asheville’s first apartment-style housing for upperclass students, The Woods, opened in fall 2018 and houses up to almost 300 students. Designed to foster community, the six buildings feature four-, five- and six-bed configurations, with laundry rooms on site and full kitchens in each apartment. The sixth building, Chestnut Hall, is located closest to University Heights and includes a welcome center, multipurpose room, fitness room and an apartment for the The Woods community director. Each building is named after North Carolina native trees: Aspen Hall, Beech Hall, Cedar Hall, Chestnut Hall, Magnolia Hall, and Willow Hall.
Located adjacent to Brown Hall, students living in The Woods are less than a 10-minute walk to their classes and have access to adjacent parking.
Recent renovations, completed in 2019, have brought the student experience to the front and center of Highsmith, encouraging collaboration and community among students with open areas for student organizations and a gallery to display student artwork. Roasted coffee shop greets everyone at the front of the building, and the new configurable Blue Ridge Room, with a capacity of 500 people, is a popular events space for community as well as student events. The Blue Ridge Room provides direct access to Brown Hall for kitchen and catering operations as well.
The Owen Hall and Carmichael Hall renovations were funded by the Connect NC Bond and did not affect tuition.
The Highsmith Union renovations were funded through the student debt service fee approved by the on-campus fee committee, and the The Woods student residences were funded through room charges that have been market tested. State appropriations cannot be used to renovate or construct student unions or residence halls, so funding must come directly from student fees. Both projects were approved by the UNC Asheville Board of Trustees, the UNC System Board of Governors, and the North Carolina General Assembly.
UNC Asheville prioritizes its core value of sustainability in all projects and initiatives, including campus construction and renovations.
The Woods have been certified LEED Gold by the U.S. Green Building Council. UNC Asheville also follows the model of green infrastructure with our storm water management systems. Storm water collection is integrated into the landscape. There are multiple storm water management strategies on the residence halls site including rain gardens, rainwater collection cisterns, and regenerative storm water conveyance systems. All these storm water management structures allow groundwater re-charge, removal of pollutants, and reduction of erosion and sediment.