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South Campus Construction Forums Planned

Fewer than 10 students attended the meeting at Morrison Residence Hall. The forums, which will be held throughout the week, are designed to calm any fears that students might have about the process, said Christopher Payne, director of housing and residential education.

The four buildings are part of the Master Plan, a blueprint for campus growth. The halls will house about 900 students, and the exact date for the beginning of construction will be determined at a meeting later this week.

"(Construction will start) at the end of October or the first of November. The contracts have already been signed, and we are ready to start," said Rebecca Casey, associate director of housing and residential education.

Construction fences will be the first sign of change. "Fences will go up around construction area and laydown area," Payne said. "That will be one of the first things that people see."

Eight-foot chain-link fences will be covered in green construction fabric to block the sight of materials. Plywood might be attached to the fences so that murals can be painted on them, said Larry Herringdine, assistant director for facilities management. Construction is scheduled to last 18 months, with a completion goal of May 2002. Construction will begin at roughly 8 a.m. each morning, five days a week. "(Funding for construction) was subsidized with housing bonds," Casey said. "The money has already been secured and has nothing to do with the ($3.1 billion) bond referendum in November."

Housing officials have been working with students throughout the planning process to ensure that these buildings please students.

"All along the way, we've involved students in the process," said Al Calarco, associate director of housing and residential education. "We went to every school in North Carolina that was building to ask the students what those schools could have done better."

But this hasn't calmed the fears of some students. "I am concerned on how it will affect life. I know construction on the steamline here has been obnoxious," said Molly Wilkerson, a sophomore journalism major. "Parking is a problem, as it is on South Campus. How are they going to deal with all of the new students?"

Even though the department has worked to combat problems before they start, officials realize that unforeseen issues will come up.

"Until the project gets started, we won't be able to have all the details perfectly clear," Herringdine said. "We expect to continue these forums after fences go up and construction starts."

Calarco said he wanted input from students about the pending construction. "This will be an ongoing process. This (forum) is not a one-shot deal."

The University Editor can be reached at udesk@unc.edu.

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