UNCA opens Pisgah House; part shelter, part showcase

UNC-Asheville officials on Thursday showed off a new $2.9 million building on campus that will serve as home for Chancellor Anne Ponder, as well as a public space for the university to hold special events and woo potential donors.

University Board of Trustees Chairman Jim Buckner said the building will help the university “win new friends and new funds” in an economic climate that requires the university to step up its fund-raising activities. The new 6,333-square-foot building, with about two-thirds of its space devoted to public use, is “a dream come true,” Buckner said.

The two-story house replaces UNCA’s former home for its chancellor on Macon Avenue, a house that served that purpose since 1966. The university sold the home in 2007 for $600,000 and used that money, as well as private donations from about 150 people, to build the new structure.

The house sits on 2 acres of a 50-acre parcel of land land across W.T. Weaver Boulevard from the main UNCA campus. It’s close to the U.S. Forest Service Southern Research Station. Buckner noted that every campus in the UNC system is required to provide a residence for its chancellor, and that UNCA had long wanted an on-campus residence.

Buckner said the university wanted a facility that fit with the campus and “reflects who we are as Asheville and Western North Carolina.” Its style includes Arts and Crafts and Tudor elements, and features the work of local builders, craftsmen, artists and designers.

Stained-glass panels glow in the ceiling of the building’s great room. There’s a sun room and a study. The house includes an elevator and a large kitchen. There are paintings by such artists as Luke Allsbrook, Tucker Cooke, Scott Lowry and Peter Gentling of Asheville, as well as Robert Johnson of Celo. One room features the photography of Hugh Morton, the former owner of Grandfather Mountain. Fine woodworking, such as cabinetry and wood-framed mirrors, can be seen in the kitchen, bathrooms and library. There are ceramic and glass pieces, as well.

The building also includes sustainable features, including radiant floor heating and eight 300-foot-deep wells to provide geo-thermal heating and cooling.

Ken Gaylord Architects/Black Hawk Construction of Hendersonville served as architect and contractor on the project.

Buckner said the chancellor plans to move in during the first week of February.

Click here to view a photo gallery of Pisgah House.

Jason Sandford, multimedia editor


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