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The Daily Tar Heel

Union Delays Affect Campus Organizations

All three phases of construction have been delayed six months, meaning that all organizations housed in the original Union building will have to uproot in the middle of next semester rather than changing locations during the summer.

Phase I of construction -- the erection of the new addition -- was supposed to be completed in June 2001 but is now scheduled to end in November 2001. As a result, Phases II and III have been pushed back six months as well.

Phase II is the renovation of the lower level and second floor of the original Union building, and Phase III is the renovation of the main floor and lobby area.

Don Luse, director of the Carolina Union, said the delays are partly due to weather conditions and rock breakup. "There's a big layer of granite that runs through the campus," Luse said. "They had to deal with that."

While the revised renovation schedule has not caused any fluctuation in the overall Union renovation budget, student organizations' offices and meeting spaces will be affected.

When the addition is completed, student groups will be temporarily housed in the new addition while Phase II takes place on the original building's second level.

Krisi Young, president-elect of the Carolina Union Activities Board, said the most difficult issue will be dealing with the actual physical move. She said moving student organizations and all their materials and storage items will be a problem.

"It will be a lot of physical work just getting everything over there," Young said.

Luse said other inconveniences will include noise concerns and walkway closures. He said one of students' largest issues is the closed stairwell connecting South Road to the Pit, and he said that Union officials are working toward opening that pathway next semester.

"We're trying very hard to make sure that happens," Luse said.

Luse said officials are trying to minimize inconveniences by keeping students aware of what is taking place.

"Nobody likes to be surprised," Luse said. "It's important for us to say 'Hey, we're sorry you're inconvenienced.' "

Jon Curtis, assistant director for student activities, said space will be found for all student organizations.

"No groups are being denied access or space on the basis of delayed renovations," Curtis said.

One group, however, has felt the pains of renovations since it began. The Carolina Indian Circle, a group that shares a small office on the second floor of the Union, has been displaced from its meeting area, one member said.

"We used to have a meeting room, but it was on the side where they're now doing renovations, so we had to scramble around campus to just find a space where we could have a weekly meeting," said sophomore Jessica Lambert, a member of the Carolina Indian Circle.

But Luse said communication with student groups is the best solution. "You apologize for the inconvenience and be honest with people, and they understand," he said.

"There's no doubt there will be inconveniences. But what we're trying to promise students is that when it's done, it will be worth it."

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