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No Bond Means No Relief for UNC System Schools

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RALEIGH — TheUNC systemwill not get the money it wanted to help build for the future. Lawmakers could not agree on a construction bond package, so they willadjourn without one.

People close to the situation said they knew Monday night the bond package was not going to pass. Now, schools in the UNC system may have to wait close to a year before any kind of new funds will be coming their way.

The defeat of the UNC bond proposal this session means no relief for students on thesystem's already overcrowded campuses.

"They're going to be coming whether we build the new buildings to accommodate them or not," said J.B. Milliken, UNC Vice President for Public Affairs. "That's a substantial problem."

One of the only short-term alternatives may be capping enrollment at some of the schools. The most crowded includeN.C. State,UNC-Chapel Hill,East Carolina University,UNC Charlotte,UNC GreensboroandUNC Wilmington.

"There are six campuses already of the 16 who are at or beyond capacity. It's beyond tight quarters. They have no place to put new students," explained Milliken.

The defeat of the bond package puts lots of maintenance projects on hold.

UNC bond backers are not holding out hope that a special session of theGeneral Assembly, where the bond proposal would be taken up again, may be called this fall.

Sen. Tony Randsays there would be no need to come back unless some agreement can be reached. "There would be absolutely no need to come back and sit and look at one another. While I enjoy the company of the other legislators, I have no desire to spend any more time with them," Rand said.

Governor Jim Huntalso has the option of calling a special session for the bonds, but there are no indications he will.

The 10-year growth projections at UNC system schools are staggering. North Carolina State, the system's biggest school, expects to grow 11 percent.

A 15 percent projection has UNC-Chapel Hill leaders looking for money, and 35 percent more students are expected to come to ECU.

N.C. Central's enrollment will soar by 49 percent, and Fayetteville State could see its student body jump more than 50 percent in ten years.


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