Bruce Flye of ECU Facilities Planning told members of the Board of Trustees Finance and Facilities Committee July 13 that the university has space for growth up to about 22,000 students. Building and renovation projects associated with passage of the Higher Education Bond Referendum this fall would address only the property that the university now owns, but additional land for parking and intramural fields would still be needed.
Flye said projections show that the university's capacity would not likely catch up to the projected rise in enrollment until the year 2013. The school has hoped to expand its capacity in time to meet the UNC General Administration's projected enrollment peak of 27,000 students for the year 2008.
"We'll have to find ways to accommodate our needs for additional space," he said, "and we will be looking at properties that owners are willing to sell that fit within our needs."
Earlier proposals listed such options as moving the campus borders to the east and to the west. Those options were met with opposition from residential property owners in areas east of the campus from a group representing business owners in the downtown business district.
"We're still interested in seeing our downtown area develop as a viable economic entity for the city," said Bob Thompson, director for Planning and Institutional Research.
Thompson said there is not sufficient money for the university to move now in any one direction and the money that comes to ECU from a successful bond referendum is already earmarked for the new Science and Technology Building, health sciences facilities and for renovations to current structures and other projects related to property the university currently owns. These projects will take place over the next six or seven years, he said.
The planners proposed the formation of a standing task force to look at acquiring additional property from owners who may be willing to sell. They noted that if additional money becomes available over the next few years, the university could move its projections ahead and possibly reach its space need goals earlier than the 2013 projection. A master plan document will be drafted for review by the Board of Trustees in October. The final document is slated for approval in December.
ECU News Bureau