UNC students looking to live in Odum Village apartments might not have the chance to do so after 2015.
The University is planning on closing the buildings by 2015 because they fail to meet a building code that requires all residence halls to be equipped with sprinklers.
After a UNC fraternity house fire in 1996, the state required that all UNC-system campuses install sprinkler systems in residence halls by 2012, said Rick Bradley, assistant director of assignments and communication in UNC’s Department of Housing and Residential Education.
Per the N.C. General Administration requirement, residence halls must be updated by 2012 or closed.
UNC applied for an extension for Odum Village.
There are no plans to tear the Odum Village buildings down. Rather, officials hope to use them as facilities that do not require sprinklers.
Bradley said plans are in the making to build a new style of residence hall nearby to serve as a replacement.
Administrators in UNC’s housing department hope to build a new 400-500 unit residence hall complex between the Odum Village Community Center and the Kenan-Flagler Parking Deck.
“It’s not an apartment, and it’s not a residence hall room — it’s a hybrid,” Bradley said.
Bradley said the new complex would be arranged similarly to the super suites in Morrison.
But unlike Odum Village, the new hall would not feature kitchens in its units.
Anna Wu, assistant vice chancellor for facilities operations, planning and design, said the project will provide more rooms than Odum Village currently offers.
Wu said if the project is approved, construction would likely begin in 2015.
“It would take us 18 months to plan — and we haven’t started planning yet,” Wu said.
Jerry Guerrier, architect for UNC Facilities Planning and Construction, said residents could continue living at Odum Village during some of the construction.
Wu said the project cannot progress until the housing department assesses its financial feasibility.
The housing department hired Brailsford and Dunlavey, a program management firm, to research the project.
Bradley said the firm has conducted intensive research, including student surveys, to determine what housing style would best fit students’ needs.
Bradley said the site’s proximity to the business school should attract residents.
But he said the housing department might have to compete with other departments — and potentially UNC Hospitals — to expand on the proposed land.
Junior Anisah Jabar, who lives in Odum Village, said she supports the proposed project.
“Odum is so old — when we moved, it just wasn’t welcoming,” Jabar said.
“It is sad that we would lose a kitchen though.”
Jabar also said she liked the idea of having more roommates.
“I hardly see my neighbors, and I feel like it can be lonely here at times.”
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