The Charlotte 49ers Athletics Department has announced its EverGreen Athletics Facilities Master Vision, which will integrate into UNC Charlotte’s overall campus master plan that is being updated. EverGreen includes substantial upgrades to existing facilities as well as the construction of new spaces to enhance the overall development of its entire program.
“As the University embarks upon an overall campus master planning process, the athletics master vision will be a key component of it,” said Chancellor Sharon L. Gaber. “This ambitious plan is reflective of the upward trajectory of UNC Charlotte's athletics program which is, for many of our constituents, the 'front porch' of the University. We are committed to providing an experience for our students, alumni and fans that mirrors the excellence embodied throughout UNC Charlotte — in our academics, research, community engagement and every other facet of what we do.”
While the vision offers a 12 to 15 year look at what the future holds for all 49ers campus facilities, Charlotte is currently focused on the $102 million Phase I, which features the first expansion of Jerry Richardson Stadium, a design already underway for a new softball clubhouse and recently completed upgrades to the football locker room. Phase I also includes the construction of a new stadium to be shared by men’s and women’s soccer and the newly announced women’s lacrosse program, a clubhouse for the baseball program, and men's and women's basketball locker room renovations.
“This is a vision of what we intend to become,” said Mike Hill, director of athletics. “We have aspirations to achieve greatness and further elevate the visibility and profile of our University. As we take the next step in our growth by joining the American Athletic Conference, our competition gets tougher against more established programs, so it is imperative that we provide our coaches and student-athletes with the resources necessary to compete for championships. Our fans deserve the very best experience when they come to support their beloved Niners.”
Projects identified in Phase I, for which fundraising efforts have begun, are critical to the 49ers' transition to the American Athletic Conference, starting with the 2023-24 academic year and the addition of Charlotte’s 19th sport, women’s lacrosse.
“This initiative is a tangible reflection of Charlotte’s commitment to competition in the American Athletic Conference and at the highest level of Division I athletics,” said American Athletic Conference Commissioner Mike Aresco. “It aligns with the shared vision of our conference membership and the sustained progress that has defined The American since our inception. I applaud Chancellor Sharon Gaber, Athletics Director Mike Hill and all those who strongly support this great university as its commitment to excellence continues. The University leadership’s foresight, acumen and dynamic approach have made this vision a reality that will be transformative for the University and its athletics program.”
The EverGreen Master Vision is led by nationally renowned HOK, a global design, architecture, engineering and planning firm, and Jenkins-Peer Architects, a highly regarded and award-winning local firm. HOK has nationwide experience in the athletic construction field, while Jenkins-Peer designed Jerry Richardson Stadium and the Judy W. Rose Football Center as well as other projects on campus, including the University Recreation Center.
The process included input from coaches, student-athletes, athletics staff, supporters and University and athletic administrators. Originally, the plan was to be finalized in spring 2020; however, due to the pandemic, it was temporarily paused and subsequently modified.
“The American invited us to join because of the incredible trajectory of our athletics program, University and city,” Hill added. “Our ability to clearly articulate this vision, including expansion of the football stadium, was certainly a factor. To achieve our goals, we will need to galvanize the resources of our amazing city and university. We can do this together.”
Read more on the Charlotte 49ers website.