“Forget about the Lee Street of today,” says Mike Byers, associate vice chancellor for campus enterprises. “Think about the Lee Street of tomorrow.”
Phase I of the UNCG/Glenwood Mixed-Use Village project is beginning. One project will be a pedestrian underpass connecting the two parts of campus. It will be located beside the Lee/Glenwood interchange. Because work is being coordinated with the railroad, construction dates are hard to say with certainty. The North Carolina Railroad Company owns the tracks and the primary user is Norfolk Southern Railroad.
It will be a large plaza, Byers explains, between the railroad tracks and Lee Street.
The semicircle plaza will have a diameter of about 250 feet along West Lee Street, with a radius of approximately 150 feet, says David Reeves (Facilities Design and Construction). There will be a focal point structure approximately 30 feet tall. The underpass itself will be 14 feet wide and 11 feet tall, with a blue and gold mosaic tile ceiling, Reeves explains. It will be illuminated 24 hours per day.
The new campus Police Station building will be located beside it.
The plaza’s topography will allow for steps on the west side of the plaza. Students will be able to sit on the steps much like they do at the Fountain near the Dining Hall. There will be a ramp as part of the design.
Phase I of the mixed use village – which is breaking ground now, Byers explains – will provide for 800 beds for students, which includes Lofts on Lee. All 800 beds are scheduled to be online by August 2013.
Not all of the current dwellings will be retained. Architectural Salvage of Greensboro and LOT 2540, Inc. of Rockingham County combed through the homes not to be saved, salvaging reusable materials for use in other homes. Architectural Salvage is a volunteer-based organization focused on architecturally significant items. LOT 2540 runs a work force program which employs people who are in transition, says Terri Cartner (UNCG Property Acquisition & Leasing). “It’s been a great marriage of conservation and preservation because they each want different items,” she adds. Both organizations run a “salvage” store where the public can purchase items salvaged for re-use.
The Greensboro Fire Department, Byers says, has used five houses that have been gutted to again and again practice fire-fighting techniques in live-burn training. Another live-burn is scheduled for later this month. Additionally, other agencies have used vacant structures for training.
Preservation Greensboro Development Fund plans to move at least two houses, Cartner says. To this point, Cantner adds, individuals have moved two additional houses.
By Mike Harris
Visual: Draft rendering of underpass.