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At the beginning of October, the North Carolina General Assembly passed a new $30 billion budget for the 2023-24 fiscal year. Governor Roy Cooper announced that it would come into law without his signature. The budget wasn’t passed until three months after the 2022-23 fiscal year came to an end due to Cooper’s disapproval of the budget.
In a statement released in September, Cooper said, “Make no mistake, overall this is a bad budget that seriously shortchanges our schools, prioritizes power grabs, keeps shady backroom deals secret and blatantly violates the constitution, and many of its provisions will face legal action.” He reportedly allowed the budget to pass due to it enacting a landmark bill that would expand Medicaid to over 600,000 North Carolina residents.
The budget, which provides funding for many of the government’s primary functions, will be mainly allocated to the education system, state infrastructure and healthcare. Approximately $17.3 billion of the budget will go towards educational means. A portion of this budget will also be allocated to NC State which Chancellor Randy Woodson announced at the end of September.
“I’m pleased to share that this budget recognizes NC State’s immense value to North Carolina with significant investments in our campus that will have transformative impacts on our students, faculty, staff, programs, and facilities for decades to come,” Woodson said in a statement on the official NC State website.
“We are tremendously grateful for the support of the legislature and their commitment to NC State’s mission and future success.”
The budget will provide a 4% salary increase for NC State faculty and staff for the remainder of 2023 and then an additional increase of 3% for 2024, totaling at 7%. The budget will provide the university the ability to broaden educational and research opportunities around campus by growing pre-existing programs and funding new plans.
A large portion of the new budget will be going toward the College of Engineering. $200 million is being set aside for new construction on Centennial campus including a new Engineering Classroom building. $10 million will be continuously funded for “Engineering North Carolina’s Future,” a legislative initiative that will expand the College of Engineering by approximately 40% over the next several years.
The rest will be going towards various other projects and programs throughout the university that will aid the university in funding the construction of various other buildings and renovating classrooms and other educational environments on campus.
One of these projects is the new Integrative Sciences building which is being constructed in the Brickyard. $28 million will be going towards this project, which is the last investment needed to match the building’s $180 million cost. This building’s construction is one of the most major projects currently being established at NC State. The official school website says, “The new $180 million Integrative Sciences Building (ISB) — the heart of the initiative — will provide vital space for STEM teaching and research space at NC State and serve as a catalyst for transforming the sciences.”
Another notable project is a Large Animal Hospital being built at the College of Veterinary Medicine, which will have $70 million going towards its $120 million budget. According to Woodson, the additional outstanding $50 million will be provided through funding in order to match the state’s investment.
The rest of the notable initiatives receiving additional funding will include $80 million towards phase two of Dabney Hall’s renovations, $63 million towards phase two of Polk Hall’s renovation and $30 million towards phase two of Mann Hall’s renovation.
Other projects will include the Man-in-Simulant-Test lab located in the Textile Protection and Comfort Center in the Wilson College of Textiles. The lab will receive a one-time funding of $2.5 million, and $3 million for a study to test the practicality of establishing an advanced nuclear reactor on NC State campus.
$4.5 million will go toward the planning funds for a new Poole College of Management building.
The budget will impact research opportunities as well, broadening them and making them more valuable to the student body. These investments will include: $6 million in establishing an education and workforce pilot program within the College of Education for those with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities and $5.5 million in continuous funding to expand the College of Veterinary Medicine class size from 100 to 125 students in each cohort.
Additionally, the NC FFA’s (North Carolina Future Farmers of America) agricultural education in middle and high school programs will receive a one-time funding of $4 million to support future programs. The statewide Small Business and Technology Development Center and SAS (a Cary-based software company) and NC State’s joint research platform will also receive a continuous funding support of $1 million.
Lastly, the budget will also go towards funding to support various other smaller initiatives, including the NC Clean Energy Technology Center and the Christmas Tree Genetics Program’s future research projects. The College of Agriculture and Life Sciences will also receive funding to conduct an impact study test on the green industry.
There are various other projects that will receive funding as well throughout the next several months and, according to Woodson, more details will be provided as these projects begin to impact NC State campus. Woodson ended his statement on the budget by praising the state for its funding and the faculty and staff for their services.
“The state’s extraordinary commitment to our university is a testament to our greatest asset — our people. The hard work and dedication of our faculty and staff, and the spirit, drive and creativity of our remarkable students make this university special.”
Despite Roy Cooper’s disapproval of the passing of the state’s new budget, the allocation of the budget to NC State seems to be beneficial for the university. With the incoming classes of NC State continuously increasing each year, the expansion of student-based opportunities and educational spaces will aid the school in adapting to the rapid growth of the student population.