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Demolition begins on 37 buildings in the Odum Village complex

UNC makes plans to demolish Odum Village and build new property in its place due to its age and the expensive price of including new sprinkler systems.

Demolition is underway at Odum Village for 37 buildings of the on-campus graduate student and family apartments, UNC Facilities announced last week. The demolition zone is near UNC Hospitals, right next to the Mason Farm Road turn-off on East Drive.

In 2016, UNC determined the buildings did not meet fire safety standards and that it would not be cost effective to renovate to keep the apartments open. Odum Village closed soon after, and UNC’s Board of Trustees approved the demolition project in 2016.

Though there are no definite long-term plans for the area yet, a UNC Facilities press release said each building will return to a “park-like area” once demolition is complete and the fences around it are removed.

Tearing down Odum Village is part of UNC's Master Plan and will allow for the creation of a new innovation hub.

Anna Wu, the associate vice chancellor for facilities services, oversees the Odum Village project and hired the demolition company for the project. Wu said after demolition is completed, facilities will plant grass and create footpaths in the Odum Village area.

“The Master Plan proposes there to be an open space in that area,” Wu said. “Some of it is more park-like, and some of it would be potentially developed as building sites.”

Wu said the University has proposed a mixed-use model for the properties as a long-term plan.

“It could be office, it could be research,” Wu said. “We have housing that we’ve proposed in that area, and parking.”

The project will take place from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Friday until June 2020.

Demolition projects can be loud, or spread dust and debris to unwanted areas. Chuck Ohnmacht is the owner of 4 Seasons Demolition, the contracting company hired by UNC to complete the Odum Village demolition. Ohnmacht said these shouldn’t be major concerns for the campus community.

“There will be a little bit of noise, not a terrible amount because they are small buildings,” Ohnmacht said. “You might be able to hear it, but it would be faint, it’s not going to be particularly loud. If you were outside you might hear it if you were within a block or two.”

Ohnmacht said his team has placed high protective fencing around the site and regularly hoses down the buildings to prevent dust from spreading to surrounding areas. Though some of the buildings have asbestos in them, Ohnmacht said his team strips each building of any asbestos before tearing it down.

“The asbestos crew goes in, removes everything and moves on to the next building, and then we start the building that they’ve cleared,” Ohnmacht said.

Alexandra Malmfelt is a junior who has a work-study job in the urology department, located at the School of Medicine off of Manning drive, almost next door to the demolition site. Malmfelt said she’s noticed the black tarps, but hasn’t been disturbed by the demolition going on.

“I haven’t seen any of the effects or heard any of the effects of it,” Malmfelt said.

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