As a result of NC Promise, UNCP has seen substantial growth in enrollment numbers, which poses many questions for how the university will sustain more students in the coming semesters. One solution to an increase in enrollment is the expansion project of Courtyard Apartments.
“We are getting very close to, if not over full capacity … so (we are) starting to research possibilities,” said Paul Posener, director of housing and residence life.
“We’re trying to pursue the possibility of up to 192 beds for fall 2019,” Posener said.
With the help of housing consultants, focus groups and surveys to measure feedback from students, housing hopes to gauge “how much” and “what type” of housing will be necessary to sustain the influx of students moving forward, he said.
As far as official information from private developers on plans to move forward with housing development projects outside of the university, Posener is uncertain.
According to David Ward, provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs, “What we as a university can’t do is to sit around and wait for private developers to do something.”
Thus, the Courtyard expansion project was born.
“Over the long term, the university has to ultimately rely on a mix of private developers and our own housing stock,” Ward said.
Students see this expansion as a positive for the university.
“I think the expansion is a great thing. Our university is growing and there’s an evident need for more residential space. New buildings in courtyard I feel is going to attract a lot of people,” said residential student Wish Bailey.
“I feel as if it’ll be a good opportunity for more students to be able to have an apartment if they don’t want to be living in dorms,” said Naomi Rivera, another residential student.
Pembroke Town Manager Tyler Thomas also sees the project as a positive for the town.
“Anytime the university is growing, they’re adding new buildings, it enables our community to grow a little bit, bringing in more students,” Thomas said. “It all helps our community to grow and be more sustainable.”
The university is anticipating a greater increase of last fall’s record-breaking enrollment of 1,233 freshmen.
According to Ward, that could mean a class of 1,400 freshmen, increasing the student body estimate to 8,000 for the fall of 2019.
With the increase in projected growth, comes the staggering amount of applications already piling up for the fall.
“We encourage folks to have applications in as soon as possible,” said Lois Hicks Williams, associate vice chancellor for enrollment.
Williams urges incoming students to apply early. The deadline for application is May 1.
The research phase of the Courtyard apartments’ expansion project will conclude mid- to late February, with the target date of Feb. 15. A decision will be made shortly thereafter as to what changes will be implemented as the project moves into its next phase, according to Williams.