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NC State picks developer to build hotel across from Bell Tower

A group of Raleigh developers and a Washington real estate firm have been selected to build a 125-room hotel on Hillsborough Street across from the N.C. State University Bell Tower.

N.C. State officials announced the selection of Bell View Partners and The Bernstein Companies on Tuesday.

The university’s endowment fund has spent the last several years buying up property across from the tower in an effort to make the site more attractive to developers.

The project is the latest in a flurry of redevelopment activity along Hillsborough, which was given a $10 million makeover by the city last year.

Earlier this month The Brewery, a popular live music venue, was demolished to make way for a drugstore, a parking deck and apartments.

N.C. State began soliciting redevelopment proposals for the 1.3-acre of property it owns in the spring.

The hotel would include ground floor retail and a restaurant.

The project would occupy the stretch of Hillsborough between Enterprise Street and Maiden Lane, replacing both Sadlack’s Heroes and a retail center that is currently home to Schoolkids Records.

N.C. State nuclear engineers patch leaky research reactor

N.C. State University officials say they have patched up a leak that shut down the campus nuclear reactor nearly three weeks ago.

The small research reactor had been leaking about 10 gallons of water an hour from a 15,600-gallon pool used to cool the superheated reactor core and radioactive fuel rods. Total leakage came to about 3,500 gallons.

The leaking water was tainted with radioactivity but posed no public health risk, university officials said. The water was presumed to flow through the Burlington Nuclear Engineering Laboratory on campus and into the ground below.

N.C. State nuclear reactor springs leak, shuts down

N.C. State University said this afternoon it shut down its research reactor after a leak was discovered at the nuclear facility.

The small nuclear reactor is leaking about 10 gallons an hour and poses no public health risk, the university said.

N.C. State said it is not required to report leaks under 350 gallons per hour, but it chose to do so. The public notice comes five days after the leak was discovered on Saturday.

"The leak is the size of a pinhead," said N.C. State spokeswoman Caroline Barnhill.

NCSU names commencement speaker

N.C. State University has picked a speaker from Duke for its spring commencement. Duke Energy that is. James E. Rogers, chairman of the board, president and CEO of the power company will deliver the commencement address.

Rogers has more than 20 years of experience as a CEO in the electric utility industry. He was named president and CEO of Duke Energy, one of the largest electric power companies in the United States, following the merger of Duke Energy and Cinergy in April 2006.

He has served more than 50 cumulative years on the boards of Fortune 500 companies, and in leadership roles for a host of organizations and energy councils and was named to Newsweek’s “Global Elite” list of “The 50 Most Powerful People in the World” in 2009. He will receive an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree. 

During the ceremony, Chancellor Randy Woodson will also confer an honorary degree on Robert Weiss, the artistic director and chief executive officer of Carolina Ballet. 

Commencement is set for Saturday, May 14, at the RBC Center in Raleigh. The ceremony starts at 9 a.m.

NCSU's Poole business school unveils new executive education effort

Officials at N.C. State University's business school have spent the past year testing a new type of executive education program with local companies such as IBM, BASF and Eisai.

This morning in Raleigh, the university's Poole College of Management will unveil the new name for its executive education programs: Business Collaboratories. The clinics are designed to help business leaders solve challenging problems using a cross-disciplinary group of faculty.

"After three years of downsizing and with the rise of Brazil, Russia, India and China (BRIC nations) as major players in the business landscape, companies are feeling the pressure to refocus their business models and re-invest in their key people," said Paul Mugge, executive director of the program.

For N.C. State's Poole College, the program is an effort to attract more corporate executives amid increasing competition from a wide range of traditional and online business schools, including at local rivals UNC Chapel Hill and Duke University.

Study: Working moms have sicker kids

Stay-at-home moms may have been right all along when their maternal instincts told them they're best equipped to care for their children.

A new study from N.C. State University concludes that children of mothers who work outside the home have a significantly higher risk of health problems, accidents and injuries.

The study found that kids of working moms have a 200 percent increase in the risk of experiencing overnight hospitalizations, asthma episodes and injuries or poisonings.

Parenting is an intensely emotional subject that leads to feelings of guilt, inadequacy and -- just as often -- a sense of superiority among parents, particularly among moms who handle the bulk of child-rearing duties. The so-called mommy wars have heated up in recent years as the numbers of women with children under age 18 who are in the workforce has risen to more than 75 percent.

NCSU TV show wins an Emmy

A television show produced by N.C. State University has won a regional Emmy Award.

The team that produced "In the Garden with Bryce Lane" received the award over the weekend at the 25th Annual Midsouth Regional Emmy Awards.

The show is produced by NCSU's Communication Services department.  Bryce Lane, host and instructor in N.C. State’s Horticultural Science Department, brings more than 28 years of teaching experience to television.

The production team includes videographer/editor Simone Keith, producer Sonya Williams Harris and graphic artist John Vanaman. The show airs Saturdays at noon on UNC-TV.

Williams Harris said In the Garden won the award for a show about gardening with children. The episode, from the show’s seventh season, features Lane’s grandchildren working in his home garden, as well as students from Raleigh’s Ravenscroft School and 4-H horticulture specialist Liz Driscoll demonstrating fun gardening activities for children.

In the Garden, beginning its ninth season this year, is the only show of its kind offered in North Carolina. The show is both a television series and a horticulture distance education course. Viewers can register for the course to earn college credit.

UNC-CH: No NCSU-esque reorg plans

 UNC Chapel Hill does not anticipate a major academic restructuring – a la N.C. State University – to deal with ongoing budget cuts.

"We’re going to continually make changes," Robert Winston, chairman of the UNC-CH Board of Trustees, said in a recent interview. "There will be some restructuring here and there. But nothing that will shock people and blow them away."

Last week, NCSU Chancellor Randy Woodson announced a sweeping plan to eliminate some degree programs and merge departments and, potentially, entire schools.

The announcement was an indication that after four years of budget cuts, that campus could no longer get through the annual budget-cutting exercise by nipping around the periphery.

Woodson wants to rethink the entire university structure instead of gradually slicing away at every department’s budget, as it and other public universities have done for the last several years. At NCSU, budget cuts have already led to the elimination of jobs, class sections and other academic resources.

In Chapel Hill, UNC-CH's strategy is to assume cuts are coming and prepare for them as early as possible. To that end, Provost Bruce Carney pushed deans last October to start planning for cuts of 5 and 10 percent for next year, which for UNC-CH would be $26 and $52 million, respectively.

Normally, that wouldn't take place until March or April, Carney told trustees Wednesday afternoon. UNC-CH officials accelerated the exercise to allow more time to prepare for the cuts.

And UNC-CH Chancellor Holden Thorp has already announced a five percent permanent budget cut effective July 1. That gives deans and department heads a half year to plan for the reductions.

"We’ll try to shield teaching and research and protect our ability to provide need-based financial aid," Thorp wrote in an e-mail to faculty and staff. "Admittedly, however, that will be harder to do moving forward because of the cumulative effects of the cuts we’ve taken so far."

Keep in mind: These cuts are for the next budget year. On top of that, universities have been asked to return to the state 3.5 percent of their spending for the current year, which, of course, is already half over. They must do so by March 1.

Read more about this in Thursday's News & Observer.

Feds begin review of NCSU nuclear reactor

Federal nuclear safety regulators have begun a special investigation at N.C. State University's research reactor in Raleigh after a technician was inadvertently exposed to radiation during routine work.

The NRC did not identify the technician, who works for a private company that uses the university's reactor. The technician was testing airplane components for fissures and defects using a radiography procedure similar to X-rays.

He entered the chamber and noticed the shutter of the equipment that emits neutrons was open. The technician left the chamber after 18 seconds.

UNC's Kenan-Flagler to start online MBA

UNC's Kenan-Flagler Business School announced this morning that it will begin an online MBA program next summer, following the recent news of a similar degree at N.C. State.

The Chapel Hill school is accepting applications for its first class, which will be limited to 50 students and is scheduled to start in July 2011. Tuition will be $89,000 for the two-year program and will include books, texts, student fees and lodging and food costs for four weekend immersions.

N.C. State's College of Management plans to begin taking applications in January and start its program next fall. Its 2-year program will cost $30,600 for in-state residents.

Both schools are betting on the increasing acceptance of online learning, especially among busy professionals who want a business degree. 

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