The Daily Tar Heel

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Thursday August 11th

South Campus Apartment Project Delayed Indefinitely

Construction will not begin for at least 2 years

University officials have not released a replacement date for the start of the construction project, but it will be delayed for at least two years.

Christopher Payne, director of the Department of Housing and Residential Education, said the idea for student apartments on campus emerged from student requests voiced during the creation of UNC-CH's Master Plan.

The placement of the apartments on South Campus was determined by both the Master Plan -- a 50-year blueprint for campus growth -- and a potential housing shortage with increased enrollment.

Payne said that the apartments originally were slated to be completed in fall 2005 but that discussions about the new apartment-style residence halls still are in the initial stages.

Officials are looking at infrastructure issues such as replacement parking spots and the steam lines to Odum Village that will be installed in the path of some of the proposed sites.

Larry Hicks, associate director of administrative services for the housing department, said officials have been working to finalize an initial program for the facility and to determine a reasonable timeline. Once this stage is finalized, they will begin discussing the look of the new apartments.

Payne said officials are trying to determine the exact placement for the apartment buildings. Officials aim to house 1,000 students in the new apartment-style residence halls, but they are not sure how many buildings there will be. Payne said the new halls will be more intimate, like the new South Campus residence halls.

The postponement of construction could pose a problem as more students continue to enroll in the University. Once construction has begun, it will take 18 to 24 months to complete the apartments, Payne said.

Payne said it is crucial that housing spaces open up by fall 2005 because that is when Morrison Residence Hall is scheduled to be closed for two years for renovations, misplacing about 1,000 students.

But Payne said students will have other options because the new student-family housing should be complete by December 2004, freeing apartment-style space in Odum Village for undergraduates.

"In order to maintain our commitment to housing as many students on campus as possible, we need to free up space for freshmen and sophomores who would be living (in Morrison), as well as creating alternatives for juniors and seniors who would like to remain on campus."

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