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Chapel Hill Prepares for Increased Enrollment

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CHAPEL HILL — College-bound students from all over the world have their sights set on being a Tar Heel or part of the Wolfpack.

In the next few years, enrollment at NC-State and UNC-Chapel Hill is expected to soar through the roof, which means that both schools can expect growing pains.

A predicted boom of students could push campus capacity to its limits at Chapel Hill, and at other schools around the state. This summer university leaders are studying how much growth each campus can handle.

The 16 University of North Carolina campuses will welcome more than 40,000 new students over the next ten years. However, the schools and the towns they are in may not welcome the changes that go along with that growth.

The Chapel Hill campus could grow from 24,000 students to 30,000 by the year 2006. A task force is studying the potential impact on class size, faculty resources, housing and transportation.

While university leaders study the quantity and quality of the education they are providing, they also hope to preserve the unique atmosphere of the Chapel Hill campus.

"What the distribution of that growth should be between graduate, undergraduate and professional students, and then what the projected cost in servicing that growth would be, and where we would get the money," UNC Provost Dick Richardson said.

Franklin street business owners are not concerned about overcrowded classrooms, they know that higher enrollment brings thousands of new customers.

"Anytime you expand that is a wonderful thing," said Donna Devanney, who works at Chapel Hill Sportswear. "I think it would be great for the university, and definitely for the downtown."

In the fall the Board of Trustees will receive three different scenarios made out by this enrollment management task force to help decide the course of expansion.


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