Western Carolina University Chancellor David O. Belcher will host an educational forum on Monday, Feb. 29, to address the regional importance of the Connect NC bond proposal.

The open-to-the-public event will begin at 12:30 p.m. in the theater of WCU’s A.K. Hinds University Center.

On Tuesday, March 15, North Carolina voters will decide on the $2 billion referendum, which would fund state and local infrastructure needs, highway projects and state parks improvements, and provide $110 million for a new WCU Natural Sciences Building.

Connect NC logoBond approval would not result in any tax increase and would allow the state’s strong credit ratings to remain unaffected while providing $1.3 billion toward construction and renovation projects at the 17 University of North Carolina system institutions and the 58 community colleges, Belcher said.

WCU’s Natural Sciences Building needs to be replaced so that the university can provide more graduates in science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields to meet growing regional workforce demands in Western North Carolina in health care, high-tech manufacturing and agricultural and natural products development, he said.

Belcher will address how bond approval would help communities in Western North Carolina in addition to educational needs, such as funding local water and sewer projects, health care initiatives and the Department of Agriculture and National Guard.

For more information on the Connect NC forum, contact Meredith Whitfield, WCU director of external relations, at mcwhitfield@wcu.edu or 828-227-3553.