Local News

Some Durham Residents Not Pleased With N.C. Central Expansion

Posted October 24, 2002

— North Carolina Central University

is growing and running out of space. A major development plan is in the works to help alleviate some of the problems, but not everybody is happy about the expansion plans.

Charsie Herndon, who grew up in the old Hillside neighborhood, said she has seen plenty of changes. Her house sits in the shadow of North Carolina Central University in an area where the school plans to build a 400-space student parking lot.

"It's going to bring more pollution. It will be more public and probably have more crime," she said.

The parking lot is part of a multimillion-dollar expansion plan. Piece by piece, houses near N.C. Central are being demolished. They are making way for two new dorms and a state-of-the-art science complex.

"It really has to be done so as not to endanger the future growth and development of the university," said James Ammons, chancellor of N.C. Central University.

This year, officials claim university enrollment went up 13 percent. Due to the increase, officials said they could not provide on-campus housing for everyone who wanted it. Professors say the labs are too small and lack the basics, like not enough water stations. They also say the rooms are basically falling apart.

As for the new science complex, Ammons said the current facilities just do not make the grade.

"They're not state-of-the-art, and it makes it difficult for faculty," he said.

Ammons said he is trying to address neighbors' concers. The parking project was scaled back from a deck to just a paved surface, but Herndon and some of her neighbors say that is not enough.

"I'm not against brick and mortar, but at some point, there needs to be some harmony," she said.

Some neighbors are signing a petition to have the City Council deny the school's rezoning request for the expansion. The council is set to consider it next month.


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