ECU's expansion plans examined
(Mar. 17, 2000)
University planners, who rolled out campus expansion scenarios recently for faculty and staff members as well as neighbors of the campus, are fine-tuning their proposals before they are presented to the Board of Trustees in May.
ECU, faced with an anticipated enrollment boom of an additional 9,000 students in the next decade, is looking at acquiring up to 100 acres of land and adding up to 3 million square feet of building space. Chancellor Richard Eakin said the process of planning that much growth is both "exhilarating and daunting."
He said the new plan will be an opportunity not only for ECU but also for the city of Greenville. Seeking to reassure nearby property owners, Eakin said the university will be "as friendly as possible with our neighbors" in acquiring additional land. More than 200 of those neighbors attended an open house in the club level of Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium on Feb. 17 to examine expansion proposals.
Scores of university employees were at another open house earlier in the day at Mendenhall. At those events, University architect Bruce Flye (Facilities) described three draft proposals. One shows the campus expanding in several directions; a second concentrates the growth in downtown Greenville; and the third focuses on areas south and east of the campus, including property between Cotanche and Evans. Additional parking including decks is a feature of all three plans.
Residence halls could account for as much as half of the additional square footage on the core campus, Flye said. Other features of the growth plans include office and laboratory space, cultural and entertainment facilities such as a performing arts center, and teaching facilities for athletics.
Flye said that the final proposal to be presented to the trustees is likely to include elements of all three drafts. In addition to the open houses, university officials have met with city, county, state and public school officials to discuss ECU growth. "We're actively soliciting feedback on where we are," Flye said. "It is important to let people know about the ramifications of our enrollment growth."