Durham, N.C. — Students are heading back to North Carolina Central University for classes, and afterward some of them will go back to a residence hall that is being used despite what the state says are millions of dollars in needed repairs.
Eagle Landing was built three years ago. A private foundation owns and maintains it, but the university wants to buy it. Last year, a state inspection found multiple code violations, along with mold and mildew.
The state cited $9 million worth of needed repairs, but the city differs on the interpretation of building codes and issued a certificate of occupancy.
Since the city cleared the building, city officials said it is now a matter between state inspectors and the university. However, since it is a privately owned building, the state said it cannot require the school to make any changes.
"Every issue has been addressed or will be by the end of the month," said interim vice-chancellor Dr. Bjou Sahoo.
So far, the school has spent $150,000 fixing safety issues. School officials said they have cleaned up the mold and addressed state fire code violations. Meanwhile, they argue that $4 million in problems like an inefficient heating and air system may have to wait.
"I'm a little concerned, but I'm sure they wouldn't move us in here if they didn't think it was safe," said student Ashley Rogers.
"We're doing everything anyone tells us to do that will benefit the students," Sahoo said.
The university's Board of Trustees will consider buying Eagle Landing in September. If the school decides to buy the dorm, the University of North Carolina system board of governors must approve. The state will have to re-inspect the building, and the school would then be forced to comply with state regulations.