The state House approved legislation Tuesday that would allow UNC School of the Arts to build a $46 million, 444-bed dormitory on its campus.

The UNCSA project was inserted into House Bill 402, titled “UNC Capital Projects,” joining similar infrastructure projects at UNC Wilmington and Western Carolina University.

The House voted 93-5 in favor of the bill on the third reading. It was approved on the second reading last week by 112-3 vote. Because the bill involves financing, it required waiting a day, per legislative rules, before the third reading.

HB402 now goes to the Senate. If funding is approved, the goal is to start construction at UNCSA in late 2020 and be open for the 2021 fall semester.

The project also involves the tearing down of Residence Hall A-F and the Bailey Street Apartments complex. The Bailey complex would be demolished first to clear space for the project. Once the new dorm is built, Residence Hall A-F would be demolished.

The planned dorm would give UNCSA a net gain of 64 beds on its Winston-Salem campus.

Officials said the dorm is necessary to attract students wanting education and training in the arts. It will offer a mix of apartment-style and suites housing. The latter would be the first such residential option on campus.

The UNC board of governors signed off on the request May 21, in large part because UNCSA said the construction and maintenance cost of the new dorm would be covered primarily by student housing rental fees, also known as self-liquidating debt. The per-month cost of the housing would be in the $835 to $878 range, compared with about $700 now.

“It’s time to enhance the living and learning environment for our students with contemporary and up-to-date housing,” Jim DeCristo, UNCSA’s vice chancellor for economic development and chief of staff, said in a statement.

“It is clear that our existing residence halls are not meeting our students’ needs, and we know that suite-style housing is what students prefer,” DeCristo said.

Center Stage Apartments, with 178 beds for upper-class, graduate and international students, would not be affected by the project.

UNCSA officials said the new dormitory could entice more juniors and seniors to remain on campus for housing.

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rcraver@wsjournal.com 336-727-7376 @rcraverWSJ

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