Elon University administration have said they are confident that currently vacant land will soon be incorporated into the university.
Students walking along West Haggard Avenue pass the empty plot of land where Walker Dance Studio was located. Elon acquired the land in May and tore down the building in October.
Other purchases remain unused. The historic Cable School, which the Cable family gave to Elon University in August 2009, has not been fully incorporated into the university. Although Elon secured the structure, the administration continues to wait for grant money to continue renovations and make the building accessible to students.
Although the university has no current plans for the recently purchased land, the space symbolizes the growth of the institution, according to Gerry Francis, executive vice president.
“The future of Elon is found in the contiguous land, it’s where we will grow and find room for all of the projects that will enrich our university,” Francis said.
The history of Elon demonstrates that unoccupied land develops a purpose, Francis said.
“I have been here since 1974,” Francis said. “At that point, you could look at what was formerly Harper Center and everything to the right was not there, there was no Moseley Center, parking lot, Colonnades or Greek Houses.”
In the 1980s, a wall marked the end of campus where the archway to Academic Village now stands.
“If we had not bought all of that land, where would we be now?” Francis said. “I remember how, when we moved the Health Services into the building that is now the Financial Aid office, they were upset because they thought they were far away from campus. Now that is a central point of campus. When there is contiguous property, it can be a smart investment for the university.”
Currently, Elon does not have any plans for the land that was formerly the Walker Dance Studio, said Gerald Whittington, senior vice president for business, finance and technology.
“It depends on what the land is and where it is for us to decide if we are going to buy it,” Whittington said. “I don’t think it’s something that is a policy. If it is something that would be of obvious importance to the university, then we talk to the current landowner.”
When the university started building the Alumni Field House, the owners of the Cable School were going to tear the historic building down. The owners gave the house to the university — Elon boarded up the windows, repaired the roof and stabilized the property.
“It is important for us to preserve the property and make it available to those who have an interest in that area, people who are doing research and interested in the history of the area,” Whittington said.
The money from the grants will be used to renovate the historic structure and incorporate it into