Durham, North Carolina — Leaders at North Carolina Central University celebrated the opening of four new buildings on its campus Tuesday afternoon.
The COVID-19 pandemic is delaying formal celebratory activities and inauguration festivities.
The $55.4 million NCCU Student Center officially opened in January and replaces the Alfonso Elder Student Center, which was built in 1968. The new student center is a 100,230 square foot building and sits on the corner Nelson and Fayetteville streets. The building can accommodate up to 750 people for banquets and 1,100 people for a conference setup.
NCCU also has three new residential halls: Lawson Street Residential Complex, Alston Avenue Apartments and George Street Residential Complex. The public-private partnership with Provident Resources Group Inc. added a total of 1,274 new beds in half-suites and apartments. Alston Avenue Apartments and George Street Residential Apartments opened in late 2020. Lawson Street Residential Complex opened in January.
NCCU senior Andries Faison said she’s excited about the buildings, although she won’t be able to use them as much as younger students or live in the new residence halls.
“I am [still excited] because of how progressive this university is,” Faison said. “I’ve been here since 2018 and loved seeing the buildings change over time as growth is needed for us to mature as a university.”
Faison said she was happy to see that incoming students will be able to enjoy the new buildings. She said she thinks the new structures show the university is moving in the right direction.
“I’m ready to see what happens next,” she said. “What else can we bring to the table that will make this university stand out?”
NCCU sophomore Chris Gill-Harris now lives in one of the new dorms. He said it made a big difference from the old dorm he lived in.
“I’m not going to lie, it was a big leap,” he said.
Derrick Stanfield is the student body president of NCCU and a senior at the university.
“It’s really needed,” Stanfield said of the new buildings. “The students love them.
Stanfield also praised the new student center.
“I think this might be my favorite addition to our campus, the student center,” Stanfield said. “It’s really just a nice space for students to congregate.”
Stanfield also has a local perspective on NCCU’s growth.
“I’m also from Durham, so from that vantage point I can only imagine the students who have driven Fayetteville Street their entire lives and watched NCCU grow,” Stanfield said. “So this is definitely going to be something major for them.”
Stanfield said he believes the new additions also provide NCCU with the opportunity to attract higher quality students.