The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Saturday May 27th

BOT Hears Developers' UNC Plans

Chancellor James Moeser said at the Master Plan Committee meeting that the University's plan for long-term growth is "under major timing deadlines," due to a housing squeeze on South Campus.

Moeser also said new family housing needs to be built soon to replace Odum Village before it surpasses its life expectancy. Odum Village also is needed for interim housing while existing South Campus residence halls are renovated in the near future, he said.

Adam Gross, an architect for Ayers Saint Gross, a Baltimore consulting firm hired to develop the Master Plan, said the plan will affect South Campus the most. While North Campus was originally laid out in an organized grid pattern, the region of campus south of South Road that includes UNC Hospitals, Odum Village and the four South Campus residence halls can be improved both for students and employees, Gross said.

If the BOT votes to approve the Master Plan on March 22, the plan will determine the growth of the campus over the next 50 years and will be paid for with the $3.1 billion from the UNC-system bond package passed in November.

The plan presented to the BOT included small changes to North Campus, including the replacement of Venable Hall with new science buildings and quadrangles. It also included subterranean parking decks on North and South campuses to eliminate expansive asphalt parking lots presently in place, replacing them with buildings and green space.

Gross also said South Campus is proposed to undergo more drastic changes and, under the proposal, would ultimately be structured more like North Campus.

He said there would be a mix of academic, residential and student-service buildings in two "academic villages" in the southeast and southwest areas of campus, making more efficient use of space.

Gross also said the entire campus should be better connected with a "rich walking network" like the one that exists on North Campus to enhance safety and convenience.

But some residents said the development of South Campus might not be positive for the Mason Farm area, where homes could be threatened by a proposed access road from Fordham Boulevard to Manning Drive. "The Master Plan showed our home ... wiped off the map without any prior notice," said Mason Farm Road resident Joe Wilber.

He said that although residents have a voice in the short-term development of the campus area, he does not feel they have a say in the long term.

"It makes me feel torn because I want good things for the University," said Wilber's wife, Kathy Wilber, a UNC employee. But Kathy said she is not sure whether the Master Plan's changes will ultimately benefit UNC.

Gross said the intelligent and attractive community surrounding the campus has made planning decisions difficult. "The more beautiful and precious a place is, the harder it is to plan."

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