Housing and Student Space Opportunities
Like many institutions, Carolina houses nearly all of its first-year students. Unlike other flagship public institutions, however, Carolina houses a relatively high percentage of sophomores and upper-division students, which requires the University to offer a compelling, holistic student experience to retain students as on-campus residents. Broadly, this includes appropriate residential units for students in each year of their education and improved dining, recreation, study, and social space to support learning and relationship building outside the classroom.
The Department of Housing and Residential Education developed a strategy to strengthen the position of housing assets both in their ability to execute the University’s mission and sustain financial performance. This preplanning process affirmed that the housing stock does not offer choices that provide the unit types and amenities that these older students desire, particularly in light of recent private developments very close to campus. It explored diverse strategies to meet demand within different segments of the campus housing market in light of facilities condition, impacts on the housing system’s financial performance, university-wide land use considerations, and vision for the residential student experience. The study suggests a blend of renovation, redevelopment, and new construction in the near and midterm. Over the longterm, the strategy creates potential opportunities to convert some existing residence halls to other University uses.
The study also affirmed the critical need for additional student amenities, particularly in Campus South. Space metrics also suggest that there is a shortage of student-centered space on campus. Several feasibility studies reflect this deficit and a desire to elevate the student experience campuswide. Many of these projects envision adding collaboration and meeting space, lounge areas, and food service through large projects that may not be financially feasible in the near term. Many of these proposed facilities are located near the Pit in close proximity to one another. An initial workshop during the preplanning process reinforced that shared space may help offset the needs of each of these projects individually. It also set the stage for the Master Plan to identify locations across campus for smaller, strategic hubs of student space that meet needs and make the campus more vibrant.
Key Opportunity Areas
- Smaller, distributed clusters of student space across campus and especially the Campus South Hub
- Demand for graduate student housing and opportunity to increase flexibility within the existing inventory by adding apartment housing for graduate students
- Parker and Teague residence halls on Stadium Drive – redevelopment opportunities in a central location can create more student space
- Upper Quad residence halls, which may not be needed for housing over the long-term