Construction on the new residence hall will begin during summer 2015, according to an announcement at the Board of Trustees meeting Sept. 24.
Following a 1996 UNC fraternity house fire, all UNC system residence halls were required to be equipped with a working sprinkler system by 2012. Odum Village Community, however, was given until the fall of 2017 to comply with these rules.
Associate Director of Housing Rick Bradley said the creation of an entirely new residence hall would be more fiscally responsible.
“The cost of adding sprinklers to 40-some independent buildings is not cost effective to 1960s style construction,” Bradley said.
Anna Wu, assistant vice chancellor for facilities operations, planning and design, said the approximately $32.5 million project will be paid for without University appropriations.
“The money comes from (the Department of Housing) reserves and the housing receipts — the room rate and the housing reserve funds,” Wu said.
The new dorm, located on Ridge Road between SASB and Rams Head Dining Hall, will contain super-suite style rooms, similar to those on the top three floors of Morrison Residence Hall. The suites will have five private bedrooms and a shared living space. The dorm will house 275 students.
Bradley hopes the new dorm will serve as a good replacement for the age group of Odum residents.
“When we started this process a number of years ago, the first thing we do is survey the students.” Bradley said, “There was interest in apartment style, but the affordability of that made that not an option.”
A new package center, twice as large as the center at Morrison Residence Hall, will be built in the new dorm, replacing the Morrison package center, he said.
Odum will no longer be used as a residence hall, but the land will be used for other purposes, like green space, a creek and storage space.
“This University’s master plan is that a number of the pieces of land that Odum Village currently occupies will have others come and take over that space.” Bradley said, “A portion on the hospital side will have hospital buildings most likely.”
Freshman Mengmeng Fang said a new dorm on South Campus would create longer commutes for some students, but not for her.
“I want to major in business, so it would be closer to the business school,” she said.
Wu said the dorm’s design will be environmentally conscious. In addition to the University policy of replanting trees lost to construction projects, she said there will be extra measures taken on the land around the dorm.