The University of North Carolina Board of Governors last week approved construction of a $36 million student center for North Carolina Central University, a capital project that will replace one of the state’s oldest student activity centers, and will be funded in part thanks to a campaign created by students to help finance construction. According to NCCU officials, the building will encompass more than 100,000 square feet just south of the current student union, which at 50 years old and built when the university enrolled just 3,800 students, is the UNC system’s oldest student union.
“We are thankful to members of the UNC Board of Governors for their support and the affirmative vote today for a project that will provide our 21st century scholars with a first-class facility, improve the overall campus environment and contribute to overall student success at North Carolina Central University,” said Dr. Debra Saunders-White, chancellor for North Carolina Central University. “This new student center will meet the needs of our campus as we continue to steadily grow our enrollment year over year, now serving more than 8,000 students.”
In 2014, students launched the “Our Legacy, Our Tradition, Our Home” campaign to encourage students to support a campus referendum to increase mandatory fees to offset construction costs. Students approved a ballot measure to increase fees up to $600 in support of the project, but officials say a debt service fee totaling only $350 will be phased in over the next two years to support funding.
Student-backed construction initiatives have made headlines for black colleges in recent years. In 2013, Prairie View A&M University students approved fee increases to help support construction of a $60 million football stadium.
Construction on the new Eagle student union will begin in 2017.