GREENSBORO — To deal with a campus housing shortage, N.C. A&T plans to continue its apartment-buying spree.
A&T’s board of trustees approved a plan Friday for the university’s real estate foundation to buy two student apartment complexes near campus: the 840-bed Sebastian Villages and the 324-bed Collegiate Commons.
University officials say negotiations with the apartment owners are in progress but A&T expects to be able to assign its students to these apartments by next fall.
“We’ve got to make strategic investments in housing, recreation space and parking,” Chancellor Harold Martin said. “I hear what (students are) saying.”
As A&T has grown quickly over the past several years — enrollment has risen 17% in five years, to 12,556 this fall — more students want to live in university housing. Students often flood social media with complaints about the lack of campus housing. And a recent Student Government Association survey found that 60% of A&T students listed housing among their top 3 concerns, just behind tuition and fees and well ahead of parking.
A&T last built residence halls in 2005 and has announced plans for a 420-bed dorm near Harrison Auditorium. To help meet the rising demand for housing in the meantime, A&T has been putting several hundred students in leased apartments near campus each year.
Over the past year, A&T’s real estate foundation has started to snap up some nearby apartments. In mid-2018, it bought two parts of the Campus Evolution complex, a move that added 360 beds. This summer, the foundation bought the 108-bed Campus Edge complex on South Booker Street.
The two properties A&T hopes to buy would be the foundation’s largest apartment acquisition to date. If the purchase goes through, A&T will control nearly 5,600 residence hall beds — enough to house about half of its undergraduate population.
Martin said A&T plans some improvements for these new properties, including basketball and volleyball courts, other outdoor recreation spaces, and perhaps a convenience store. The two complexes sit south of East Market Street between South Benbow Road and U.S. 29, and there are no ballfields or places to eat within easy walking distance.
Martin said A&T probably won’t buy more apartment complexes in the near term. At Friday’s meeting, trustees also approved spending $100,000 on a feasibility study to examine its current residence halls. Seven of A&T’s dorms were built before 1970, and Martin said it’s time to consider replacing them with more modern facilities.
A&T and UNCG trustees both met Friday. Here are more notes from both meetings:
- elected a new chairwoman. Venessa Harrison replaced Tim King, who has been board chairman since 2017. Harrison, who lives in Atlanta, was appointed president of AT&T’s Georgia operations in November after serving five years as president of AT&T North Carolina. She’s in her second four-year term as a trustee.
The meeting was disrupted briefly by eight student protesters who oppose what one called “the anti-black tactics of forcibly diversifying
- ” the historically black university. A&T’s current strategic plan calls for the university to have a minority population — white, Latinx and other nonblack students — of 30% by 2023. As of this fall, 21.5% of A&T’s students are non-African American. The protesters left after campus police arrived and A&T officials agreed to meet with the students.
- Trustees approved spending $700,000 to make major repairs to the teaching greenhouse inside the Sullivan Science Building and $392,150 to build a lounge for the men’s basketball team next to its practice court inside the Coleman Building. State money will be used to pay for the greenhouse repairs; donors will cover the cost of the team lounge project.
- UNCG announced that its
- has collected $1.5 million toward its goal of $5 million. In addition to a new players lounge for the men’s basketball team, UNCG is raising money to upgrade training and tutoring facilities, and renovate the men’s and women’s basketball offices.
- University officials said the UNC Board of Governors last week gave its OK to two new UNCG academic programs: a bachelor of arts in environment and sustainability, and a bachelor of science in geography. Both are scheduled to start enrolling students next fall.
- Trustees learned that UNCG welcomed 89 new faculty members this fall — 62 to replace professors who retired or left
- , and 27 more to account for enrollment growth and new programs. In the past five years, UNCG has hired 338 replacement faculty members and 91 others to cover growth. UNCG now has nearly 1,000 full-time faculty members.