The students of the UNCG pep band led the way, bright gold horns sounding under a Spartan gold sun.

The event? UNCG’s dedication of the new Spartan Village. The festive crowd marched through the newly opened Pedestrian Underpass to a “party on the plaza” to celebrate the official opening of the university’s newest apartment-style housing.

“Today is a great day for the entire university,” said UNCG Board of Trustees chair David Sprinkle, “and we formally dedicate not only this Pedestrian Underpass but the entire Spartan Village.”

“We’re standing on a key thoroughfare that will connect our rich history with our promising future.”

UNCG Chancellor Linda P. Brady said, “This is a day in which we celebrate a new chapter in the life of this wonderful university.”

The UNCG Campus Housing Master Plan initiated in 2008 called for the university to house a higher percentage of its undergraduates. “Why are we doing that? Because we know that students living on campus are showing consistently higher retention and graduation rates when compared to students who live off-campus,” Brady said.

Spartan Village is already home to nearly 900 students, she noted. It opened earlier this academic year.

“It is with our focus on improving student success that the idea for Spartan Village was born.”

UNCG Student Government Association President Crystal Bayne said, “With this new addition of Spartan Village and the underpass, we have set out to do bigger and better things than we’ve ever done before. We are setting new ground for UNCG students, whether they are current or future Spartans.”

She also referenced the students of past generations, before she, Brady and Sprinkle rang the university’s historic bell three times.

On hand to join in cutting the ribbon were UNCG trustees Susan Safran and Ward Russell, UNC Board of Governors member Marty Kotis, City Council members Sharon Hightower, Nancy Hoffmann and Zack Matheny, NC Rep. John Faircloth, former Rep. Maggie Jeffus, vice chancellors Cherry Callahan and Reade Taylor, North Carolina Railroad Company President Scott Saylor and railroad board members Robert Brown and David Woodard, UNCG Alumni Association President Jeff Collins, Spartan Village student Ian Carter and Greensboro Mayor Nancy Vaughan.

SVRibbonCuttingAs the ceremony ended, many enjoyed ice cream and blue and gold cookies and took part in tours of Spartan Village, consisting of Haywood, Highland, Lee and Union halls. The residence halls feature many sustainable practices in their design and construction, from the incorporation of recycled materials to the use of energy-efficient lighting and appliances. The debt service on the complex and the funds it takes to operate the buildings come from the rents charged to students who live there.

Alternative transportation is another sustainable feature of Spartan Village. Students have ready access to the university’s bus service as well as the city’s bus service, and there’s interior and exterior bicycle storage.

Pedestrians and bicyclists at Spartan Village now have quick access to the campus core via the new Pedestrian Underpass. A collaborative effort between UNCG and NCRR, the underpass provides a welcoming gateway for students.

Brown emphasized that the underpass will provide safe passage for the students here. As he presented Brady a plaque commemorating their effort to keep students safe, he said, “May it stand as a reminder of what we have accomplished together.”

Story by Mike Harris, University Relations

Photography by Chris English, University Relations