NCSU might play role in Dix campus future

Posted October 16, 2012
Updated October 17, 2012

— After years of debating whether the Dorothea Dix campus south of downtown Raleigh should be converted into a Central Park-type destination, rumors are swirling that North Carolina State University could play a role in the site's future.

Lawmakers said Tuesday that they understand that Gov. Beverly Perdue is considering giving the 306-acre property to the university.

"I can't give anything to anybody. Even a governor can't do that," Perdue said.

In 1984-85, former Govs. Jim Hunt and Jim Martin "reallocated" about 800 acres of Dix property to N.C. State to create Centennial Campus, which has since become a national model for university partnerships with businesses.

At the time, the moves angered Raleigh leaders and others, who called the land transfers illegal and unethical.

N.C. State officials declined to comment on conversations about the Dix campus, but Perdue doesn't deny that she has spoken with the university about the remaining property.

"Obviously, I'd like an educational and some kind of academic investment there around mental health. I think that was the core to the original gift," she said.

The land was deeded to the state in the mid-1800s so the Dorthea Dix Hospital could open as the state's first mental hospital.

Lawmakers also expressed concern Tuesday that Perdue is rushing plans to move Department of Health and Human Services offices from the Dix campus.

Since February, the department has been weighing bids to consolidate its operations at a new location in the Raleigh area. About 1,700 employees still work at the Dix campus. Dorothea Dix Hospital Campus Perdue talking to NCSU about Dix campus

The Council of State voted last year to give its formal approval to DHHS to close Dix Hospital after moving patients to other facilities.

State officials say the move would save the state money and make the department more efficient, but some Republican leaders said the process is being rushed so Perdue can approve it before a new governor takes office in January.

"I think that it is no way to run a government just so an outgoing governor can take an action and have a legacy," said Rep. Nelson Dollar, R-Wake.

Perdue has said the move is a necessary step toward turning the Dix land into a park, and she reiterated Tuesday that she wants part of the site as a park. She said she has talked to many interested parties over the past two years, but no deal has been cut so far.

"There's nobody in 2012 who would dare think to do something behind a closed door," she said. "That's not me, and that's not North Carolina. So, this will be a public discussion that I look forward to taking part in."

If the bidding process for the new DHHS campus stays on schedule, the property could be available for redevelopment by 2014.


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  • itlsss Oct 17, 2012

    How does the city of Raleigh figure they have a dog in this fight in the first place. The STATE built, operated, maintained and policed the Dix Hill campus from day one and now Raleigh figures they have a right to it, why? because it's close by and would be nice for its citizens.

  • goode88 Oct 17, 2012

    Greedy NC State, wow really!? The area will serve a purpose that will help someone, simple as that. However not everyone will get to enjoy that purpose, several thousand people live in the area and it should be their choice. That said there are several hundred ideas you just can't please everyone, or for this matter anyone.

  • monkeyboy Oct 17, 2012

    "...but some Republican leaders said the process is being rushed so Perdue can approve it before a new governor takes office in January."

    well, there's a shock. the party of hate wants to continue letting down the citizens of the u.s....

  • tran Oct 17, 2012

    Dorothea Dix should be reopened as a psychiatric hospital.

  • nic Oct 17, 2012

    Currently they are remodeling the hospital building into offices(know someone who works there)....why do this if your planning on moving??? New elevators in the buildings, cubicles, electrical and ac changes...They have a plan folks, they just haven't shared with the public.

  • dwntwnboy Oct 17, 2012

    "The Spring Hill House was historic. Gave to NC State and now some department is in the house and the sign to the house is in a foreign language. I don't know about you but I'm American and speak English. I can't read the sign."- it's the Japan House- there is a sign in english- but also one in Japanese. They do wonderful cultural things up there, a yearly picnic showcasing japanese food and arts. Don't know if they do anything with kites up there or not- there is a BIG field that would be great for that, I know I see people up there all the time with remote control airplanes and such.

  • BigOski Oct 17, 2012

    I see the writing on the wall....there will be no significant park for the citizens. Greedy NCState, who has stuck it to the college student with incresed tuition and fees, will be rewarded with another 300 acres to build excessive buildings laced with architectural marvel at the expense of the students and taxpayer. Sounds like a win-win!!!

  • Kaitlyn Oct 17, 2012

    "If she moves the DHHS offices, all this will do is cost the State more money in reprinting the address on everything"

    umm...Since this is 2012 I'm pretty sure they use electronic letterhead, so one person can change the address for the whole department in about 10 minutes. What do you think happens to old letterhead when a new governor is elected or a new department secretary is hired? Yep, that gets the letterhead changed too. It's not exactly a budget breaker lol.

  • OpenM1nd Oct 16, 2012

    "Lawmakers also expressed concern Tuesday that Perdue is rushing plans..."

    Define "rush"? How much money gets wasted each year while lawmakers stall so the rest of us can hurry up and wait while someone cuts through miles of red tape? The future of Dix has been up for discussion for how long now? The government either needs to make its call or exit the phone booth, in a matter of speaking...

  • Mr. Middle of the Road Oct 16, 2012

    It should be a mental hospital. We desperately need one. Hang in there GOP, Bev is wrong here. And how can Raleigh afford to buy it and develop any kind of decent park there?