Metcon, UNCP celebrate new residence hall


Among the 200 onlookers, 100 construction workers looked on as the last panel on UNC Pembroke’s newest residence hall was lifted in to place during an October 28 “topping out” ceremony.

With five-stories and 476 beds, Cypress Residence Hall is the largest building on UNCP’s campus. Students will certainly benefit from its amenities.

Metcon Construction Co., the Pembroke-based contractor, put nearly 100 Robeson County residents and three local subcontractors to work on the 13-month project, said Aaron Thomas, president. The local economy benefitted as well.

It was a bumpy road to completion, Thomas said.

“We were awarded the contract two-and-a-half years ago, but then the delays set in,” he said. “When it was finally approved, I told the University we would get it done on schedule.”

A large cast of players including University administrators, architects and a local member on the UNC Board of Governors played roles.

“In March, Aaron called me to say the completion date was in jeopardy if my committee did not approve the project in April,” said Board of Governors member Dr. Cheryl Locklear. “We got it done.

“This project will improve student life as well as retention and graduation rates too,” she said.

The building, located on the north end of campus, is 127,000 sq. ft. and cost $16.4 million. Chancellor Kyle R. Carter put the newest addition to campus into perspective.

“This building is the start of a new residential campus for our students,” Chancellor Carter said. “With 3,000 students living on campus next year, student life on campus will be changed forever.”

UNCP will close West Hall, one of its older residence facilities. Cypress Hall offers modern features and more space for students, said Preston Swiney, director of Housing and Residence Life.

“This is a welcome addition that has been needed for several years,” Swiney said. “One of its best features is that there is a common space in every suite.”

Swiney said the residence hall will house primarily upperclassmen and will be a little more expensive than UNCP’s other housing units. The project will be paid for with student housing fees.

The building’s construction method is a first for state construction, Thomas said. The use of panelized metal framing system allowed for faster construction and five floors.

“We had to go to Raleigh to get it approved,” Thomas said. “But that insured this project will be completed on time.”