Anticipating growth, ECSU considers facilities needs


By Reggie Ponder
Staff Writer

Sunday, December 9, 2018

Elizabeth City State University’s recent growth in enrollment is forcing university officials to take a close look at campus facilities and infrastructure.

Harley Grimes, the new director of design and construction at ECSU, told the ECSU Board of Trustees Wednesday that as the university grows it is necessary to address facility needs.

“We have to have places for students to sit and places for students to sleep,” Grimes said.

Grimes said his focus is on making the best possible use of available funds in order to ensure facilities are kept in good condition in the most cost-effective way.

“We have limited resources,” Grimes said. “We realize that. So let’s make the best use of our resources.”

ECSU Trustee Kim Brown, who noted he had worked in engineering before becoming a pastor and has experience specifically in estimating maintenance and repair costs for buildings, said ECSU needs a formalized plan for facilities that includes not only the cost of projects that are needed but also cost concepts that include maintenance costs over a period of years. When approaching the UNC System with funding requests it’s necessary to have more than just a wish list of projects, he said.

Interim Chancellor Karrie Dixon said Grimes’s skill set is exactly along the lines of that kind of facilities cost planning. It’s a major part of what he did in his previous job at Middle Tennessee State University, Dixon said.

Alyn Goodson, ECSU’s chief operating officer, said the University of North Carolina Board of Governors is taking a close look at facilities funding system-wide.

Grimes also briefly reviewed upcoming projects with the trustees. Construction is expected to begin on projects at Moore Hall and the G.R. Little Library in March, with the buildings scheduled to reopen in Fall 2020.