NCCU officials consider options for space

Saturday, December 15, 2007

North Carolina Central University's running out of space for classrooms and parking. It's the reason why, according to published reports, NCCU's trustees recently reviewed a master plan that recommends moving Central's football stadium and athletic buildings off campus.

That doesn't sit well with some of the people now living in Mc Dougald Terrace. Kishla Wise has this advice for authorities who think her community might work for a football stadium: "You can go and get other land! Southpoint, you found it for them! Chapel Hill Boulevard has it, University Drive. I ride around Durham, North Carolina every day, all day. I've lived here 27 years. (There) is more space (available elsewhere) than McDougald."

It's important to note that there's been no decision made about moving anybody out of McDougald Terrace to make room for anything else. According to NCCU spokesperson Miji Bell, McDougald Terrace is considered a possible alternate location for Central's stadium, but Central's made no offer to buy the land there. Bell says Central is looking at other potential sites before making a decision next year.

Jean Bolduc, the spokesperson for the Durham Housing Authority, also told me NCCU has not approached the agency with a proposal to buy the McDougald Terrace property.

Bolduc called Central's discussions about McDougald Terrace as a possible site for relocated athletic facilities "premature and inappropriate."

McDougald Terrace tenants like Wise worry about what she believes are the real costs of relocation, if forced to move out someday.

"We can't really afford $500, $600 rent," said Wise. "We are here because this is what we can afford. Not because we're poor and we can't do any better. It's what we can afford."

Those published reports say Central's chancellor has pledged to get community input before submitting a final facility expansion plan for trustee approval.

Wise said Central's welcome to build a new stadium anywhere else in town.

"But leave us be," she told me, "because once you take this, you've taken memories, you've taken generations, you've taken what we had!"

She and other tenants want to keep McDougald Terrace the place they call home, not the place where the NCCU Eagles might play future home games.

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