UNC Pembroke's Board of Trustees approved Feb. 6 a request for bids from private developers to construct new on-campus housing for up to 335 students.
The five-unit apartment-style buildings would be located on 10.8 acres on the north side on campus, on an area currently used for intramural fields. The estimated cost of the project is $7 million, and the project must be ready for occupancy by the fall semester, 2003.
Because enrollment is expected to rise again next fall and new student housing will not be ready until 2004, the university has been working with an apartment developer from Greenville, N.C. to formulate a plan.
Freshman applications are up 56.3 percent over last year at this time, and acceptances are up 42.1 percent. The goal is 833 freshmen for fall 2003 compared to a record 725 last year.
Chancellor Allen C. Meadors laid out the plan at an emergency telephone meeting of the board. The UNCP Foundation, Inc., would lease the land from the state, then sublease it to the private developers who would then sublease the entire project back to the university to operate and maintain.
"We will save the $7.7 million for a new residence hall and use the money for another academic building," Chancellor Meadors said. "If we do not do this, we may lose 200 or more students next year."
Chancellor Meadors touted the project for adding new student housing options. The cost for students (estimated at $3,400 for a nine month lease) would fall between the cost charged at UNCP's residence halls and the private apartment project adjacent to campus.
The apartment design calls for three, double-occupancy rooms per suite with three bathrooms, a common room and kitchenette per suite.
Another advantage, Chancellor Meadors said, is a net gain of about 180 additional parking spaces on campus. He said the intramural fields would be replaced on otheruniversity land nearby.
The request for proposals will be carried to the UNC Board of Governors for their approval and put out for bids in March. The lease with the developers would be for 30 years at which time ownership of the brick apartments is granted to the university. The university would be responsible for filling only 216 bids in the first year.
Trustees expressed some concern over the short time frame and construction quality control, but Chancellor Meadors said university architects would oversee construction.
The vote was unanimous in favor of putting out a request for proposals.