07/29/08 — College maps out expansion

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College maps out expansion

By Steve Herring
Published in News on July 29, 2008 1:42 PM

MOUNT OLIVE -- Details of an ambitious building plan at Mount Olive College are still to come, but college officials recently offered a broad overview of the project during a courtesy call on Town Manager Charles Brown.

Discussions touched on infrastructure, how stormwater runoff will be handled, as well as a need to ensure that fire trucks will have enough space to maneuver on campus.

News-Argus/Greg Sousa

Mount Olive College has opened several new buildings in the last year, including Raper Hall, in the background, and it's communications building, center, behind Moye Library. College officials met recently with Mount Olive town officials to offer an overview of the college's building plan, which includes new dorms, a new performing arts center and a new academic building.

"What we saw was a broad overview," Brown said. "As they approach each project we will get more detailed site plans showing infrastructure."

The town already has taken steps to be prepared for the growth -- some time back commissioners authorized creation of a new university/college zone.

"They brought us their long-range master plan," he said. "Probably within the next couple of months, they probably will be asking us for a couple of things including the planning board to approve rezoning the campus into that university/college zone, which would certainly be appropriate. That is really the reason it was set up. Then they probably will ask the planning board and ultimately town board, after a public hearing, to approve their long-range master plan."

Brown called the college plans "very ambitious and extensive." They include additional student housing, academic buildings and a performing arts center.

The first phase, expected to cost $5.7 million, calls for two buildings featuring townhouse-style accommodations for about 100 students. It is scheduled for completion by the beginning of the fall 2009 semester.

Steve Scruggs of Earth Tech, the town's consulting engineering firm, also attended the meeting.

"We wanted his input on drainage and infrastructure," Brown said. "The college has been very responsive in accounting for stormwater runoff or drainage issues that they have. I think they have long-term plans for a retention basin to handle runoff and they intend to take it one step further and turn them into something attractive and make it part of the

Water lines already are in place on campus. However, no new lines would be run until the town receives specific plans, Brown said.

The plans include a cul-de-sac as well.

"We wanted to make sure it was large enough for turning a fire truck around," Brown said. "We want people to know that upfront before they start the design rather than have to go back after the fact."

Brown recounted the story of how a Mount Olive baseball player on leaving an airplane after winning the national Division II championship said that Mount Olive had always been known as "pickle town," but that now it can be known as "baseball town."

"There is an image there," Brown said. "Mt. Olive Pickle Co. put the town on the map one time and the MOC Trojans put us on map again, so it (the college) is a big asset to the community. They are growing and that means it is good for the town."