ECSU to scale back library project
By Reggie Ponder
Wednesday, March 13, 2019
Elizabeth City State University is scaling back a renovation project at the G.R. Little Library in anticipation of building a new library within a few years.
Josh Lassiter, vice chancellor for business and finance, reported to the ECSU Board of Trustees’ Infrastructure and Technology Committee on Tuesday that the plan for using $13 million in NC Connect Bond funding has been adjusted to make better use of the funds in light of expected funding for a new library.
The university’s previous plan had called for spending $4.5 million on renovation of the G.R. Little Library and $8.5 million on renovation and upgrades to Moore Hall, Lassiter said. But the university’s new distribution of bond funding is $11 million for Moore Hall and $2 million to “repair” the G.R. Little Library. The smaller amount for the G.R. Little Library is the result of university expectations that it will be replaced by a new library building.
The G.R. Little Library, named after a local businessman who was a benefactor of the university, will continue to serve as the university’s library for at least five or six more years because it will take that long to receive funding for a new library building and design and construct the new facility.
University officials also expect the G.R. Little building will continue to be used in some capacity after it stops serving as ECSU’s library.
The scaled-back version of the work being performed at the G.R. Little Library building will be a good use of the bond funds, according to Lassiter.
“There’s still $2 million of good money to spend in there,” Lassiter said.
Lassiter said the university is not certain that the new library will be funded this year or even next year but there is “legislative momentum” behind the project and funding is expected soon.
Meanwhile, Lassiter said, “we’re really doubling down on Moore Hall.” He said renovations to the building would make a positive impression on students.
Moore Hall, which is on the National Register of Historic Places, is home to the university’s Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences and other academic programs. It is named for P.W. Moore, the institution’s first chief executive.
Funding for a new ECSU library building has been included in Gov. Roy Cooper’s proposed $3.9 billion Invest NC bond, which, if approved by state lawmakers and then voters in 2020, would provide construction money for public schools and campuses of the University of North Carolina and the N.C. Community College System.
Among the UNC system projects cited in a release from the governor’s office is $28.8 million to build a new library at Elizabeth City State University.
Harry Smith, chairman of the UNC Board of Governors, said in a visit to ECSU in January that the board recognizes the need for a new library at ECSU and is committed to finding a way to bring one to the campus.