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Cumberland Higher Ed Has Many Uses for Bond Money

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FAYETTEVILLE — The state's colleges and universities say they need $3.1 billion to accommodate the rapid growth of student enrollment.

Crumbling buildings and overcrowded classrooms are the norm on many campuses, including the ones in Cumberland County.

During lectures, a biology classroom at Fayetteville State University does not have an empty seat. During labs it is so crowded, the class has to be split in two.

"I don't understand why they accept so many students if they can't accommodate our needs," said student Sylvia Tigs.

For the first time in the university's 133-year history, enrollment has had to be cut back. There is simply no room.

"We have a large number of students who will not have the opportunity to attend college if we don't have the capacity to grow and expand," says FSU Chancellor Dr. Willis McLeod.

Right now, some students at FSU are living in basements, others in hotels. Because there is no money to renovate, the oldest building on campus sits empty. At Taylor Gym, teachers' offices sit on the basketball court. A bond would bring $45 million to FSU for new dorms and to fix things up.

Fayetteville Technical Community College would get $38 million. The president says they, too, need more room.

Temporary huts have been on campus for more than 20 years. They need a lab for landscape students and a virtual college center.

Fayetteville Tech also needs to spread into communities like Spring Lake, where transportation is often an issue.

"Having a center there with courses around the clock would allow them to develop new skills in that part of county," according to Dr. Larry Norris, FTCC president.

Without the bond, FTCC says it will not be able to add programs. FSU says it will not be able to add students.

North Carolinians will vote on the bond package in the November 7 general election. Until that time, students at both schools continue voter registration drives on campus.

Speakers are also going to civil and religious events to talk with citizens about the need for the bond.


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