Friday, 26 February 2021

ECSU to spend $700K renovating Butler Hall for next fall

Elizabeth City State University is using nearly a third of its state facilities funding this year to renovate a dormitory in anticipation of continued enrollment growth.

The University of North Carolina System allocated ECSU $2.3 million this year to use for renovation and repair of facilities. That’s the largest renovation and repair allocation to ECSU since 2007 and the greatest percentage of the system’s renovation and repair budget the school has ever received, interim Chancellor Karrie Dixon told university trustees Tuesday.

The university is using $700,000 of its renovation and repair allocation to renovate Butler Hall. ECSU officials hope to have the student residence hall ready to house students for the 2019-20 school year.

Dixon said renovation of Butler Hall is a priority because of ECSU’s growth in enrollment. Bringing Butler Hall back into service next year should accommodate the needs for next year but continued growth will create a need for more housing for students, Dixon said.

Josh Lassiter, ECSU’s vice chancellor for business and finance, told trustees that 1,800 to 1,850 students is the break-even point for auxiliary services such as housing and dining.

With enrollment nearing 1,700 this year, ECSU already is looking at only having to use slightly more than $300,000 from fund balance, Lassiter said. The dorms are fuller and more students are on meal plans, which is helping the university’s bottom line, he said.

Board of Trustees Chairman Kim Brown agreed that enrolling more students will resolve the university’s fiscal challenges.

‚ÄėThe answer is growth,‚ÄĚ Brown said.

David Powers, a member of the UNC Board of Governors who attended the ECSU Board of Trustees meeting Tuesday, said the UNC System is looking at public-private partnerships systemwide as one solution to campus housing needs.

Powers also said UNC could explore designating the entire ECSU campus as a ‚ÄúMillenial Campus,‚ÄĚ which would exempt the campus from some state regulations and procedures and could make construction less costly.

ECSU officials are already planning to use $8.2 million in anticipated loan proceeds from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to completely restore Bias Hall. They plan to use $843,000 from the loan to demolish both Hugh Cale Hall and Dole Hall.

The university’s NC Connect Bond funds are being used to complete a $8.5 million renovation of Moore Hall and for the partial renovation of the G.R. Little Library. The library project will cost $4.5 million.


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