On a cold and windy day Wednesday, two years from its groundbreaking ceremony, UNC Pembroke officials cut the ribbon opening Pine Residence Hall.
University officials said the new residence hall marks the beginning of a new age of growth and construction on campus. It is the first new residence hall at UNCP in 28 years.
Pine Hall, which opened to students on Aug. 15, is a state-of-the-art 300-bed residence hall. Tours that followed the ceremony revealed a dorm with all the modern conveniences, including Internet, phone and cable TV connections in every room, a computer lab, card-access security and a laundry that accept student debit cards.
Chancellor Allen C. Meadors said the residence hall symbolizes "the future of a university that is progressive and on the move."
"If this residence hall had not opened when it did, 75 students would have been without a place to stay on campus," Chancellor Meadors said, referring to the record-setting boom in enrollment and residential living this year.
Students are very pleased with the new residence hall, said Student Government President Veronica Hatton.
"We are making this institution better and better every day," Ms. Hatton said. "A lot of learning has taken place in Pine Hall since it opened."
Board of Trustees Chair Thomas Jones II, an alumna, said the building is a dream come true.
"I promised two years ago at the ground breaking, that we would build the Ritz-Carleton of Robeson County," Mr. Jones said. "We have kept that promise."
"This facility is a perfect example of what the bond referendum that North Carolina voters approved on November 7 envisions for this university's future," he said. "Soon, we will build a new science building that will enhance UNCP's reputation for training outstanding science and medical students. We will also build another residence hall."
Other speakers included Dr. Waltz Maynor, secretary-treasurer of the Alumni Association and Dr. Diane Jones, vice chancellor for Student Affairs. The UNCP Flute Ensemble, directed by Dr. Elizabeth Maisonpierre, provided music.
Pine Hall was constructed at a cost of nearly $9 million and was funded in part by the North Carolina General Assembly.
It rises four stories from its foundation and features study rooms on each floor, a large meeting room with kitchen and a lobby with a receptionist. It is a co-ed residence hall that offers suites in two formats: four single bedrooms with a living area and bath and two double-occupancy rooms with a bath.