Local News

Proposed Expansion Plan at NCCU Upsets Some

Posted April 22, 2008 6:21 p.m. EDT
Updated April 22, 2008 9:53 p.m. EDT

— Some of the property owners around North Carolina Central University say the school needs to consider options other than the school's current plan to expand the campus by 25 acres.

Under a proposed large-scale expansion plan to be voted on Wednesday by the university's board of trustees, more than two dozen buildings would be constructed to accommodate an additional 5,000 students expected to enroll by 2017.

That would mean demolishing 136 houses north of and south of campus.

"What's going to happen to us?" Heshima Du Ewa, who lives nearby, said. "Where do we go? Do they even care?

The university will purchase the private properties, but it's unclear at what prices.

Concerned residents say they believe a large expansion could hurt their historic neighborhoods. Others want the university to look to expand in less-populated areas not adjacent to campus.

"These are homes that people have lived in all of their lives," Du Ewa said. "This is home to them."

University officials have not commented on homeowners' concerns, but Board of Trustees Chairman Cressie Thigpen said opponents will have an opportunity to speak before Wednesday's vote.

"There are pros, and there are cons," he said. "And so, the board would like to hear from all sides."

The plan is being fueled by growing academic and athletic programs. The nursing program, for example, has received money to become a full-service professional school but needs a new building.

The four-phase plan also calls for more on-campus housing and parking.