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April 2009

Quad questions

The Quad has been a part of campus since the early 1920s. But what will it be like in the future?

The seven Quad residence halls are already $32 million behind in deferred maintenance. They have worn-out systems and there's weak demand for the rooms. The university is seeking input on whether it should completely rebuild — or completely redo the rooms.

The university is gathering input about renovating or rebuilding the Quad.

The university is gathering input about renovating or rebuilding the Quad.

“This is a very complicated issue,” Chancellor Linda P. Brady said. “A lot of values are at stake.”

The chancellor has been gathering input from a number of groups and constituencies.

Faculty, staff, students, alumni and community members gathered at a forum on Wednesday, April 8, as Vice Chancellor Carol Disque made a presentation and Brady addressed the large group and responded to questions, ideas and views. On April 15, the chancellor met with Alumni Association board members and past presidents at a breakfast forum.

The Board of Trustees will host an open forum about the future of the Quad from 3-4 p.m. Thursday, April 16, in Cone Ballroom of Elliott University Center.

As part of the April 8 forum, Disque noted the university needs to increase its residential capacity by 400 beds by 2011. And an additional 400 beds by 2014. Other things are driving the timeline for a decision, such as a mandate to add sprinklers by 2012.

The Quad is the least dense residential area on the campus, Disque noted.

Its rooms are “traditional doubles.” In fact, 80 percent of UNCG's housing is traditional doubles. Many students do not want that arrangement. Other universities offer more suites and apartments.

UNCG's options are:

1) Retain the exterior of the seven buildings that make up the Quad and completely redo the interiors. In addition, build an extra residence hall elsewhere on campus with about 600 beds. Two possible sites may be the Tower Village parking lot or near Moore-Strong.

2) Rebuild at the Quad, adding 345 more beds with larger and/or taller buildings. The current buildings would be taken down, and the new buildings could be sited in a variety of ways. Disque displayed general concepts. “How could you get 1,100 people in there?” she asked. As one example, Shaw Hall could be much larger than the other new buildings, as a way to preserve an expanse. Not every concept shown preserved a long expanse.

Both options would have a similar cost, and both would provide for similar capacity and conveniences for students.

Comments from those attending ranged from ones considering sustainability to why freshmen need “premier living space.” Which choice would provide more help to the local economy was considered several times.

While the university hopes to have a decision made by the first of May, the chancellor said during the Alumni Association breakfast forum that there is no firm deadline. Part of what's driving the current timeline is the need to put sprinklers into the residence halls by 2012. If a decision is not made within the month, it will push the project back to 2013. As a result, the university will need to go to General Administration and get an extension on the deadline for installing the sprinkler system, she said.

Those who are unable to attend the April 16 forum can express their opinions by clicking the “send a message to the chancellor” button on her web site:





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