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Published November 25 2013

Forum editorial: NDSU will continue to expand

The conflict between campuses and university neighborhoods is as old as schools and cities. When an urban university grows, it more often than not pushes into established neighborhoods. How that process is accomplished always determines how neighbors, whether displaced or accommodated, view the school.

North Dakota State University has been growing in enrollment and in the need for more space for decades. The recent push into north Fargo neighborhoods is not new. It’s the continuation (in some cases

acceleration) of a pattern of steady expansion.

In concert with the Development Foundation, NDSU has to plan ahead. The foundation has been buying properties for three decades, and is looking ahead another three decades. Residents of the north Fargo neighborhoods that are cheek-by-jowl near the campus have seen more and more properties gobbled up by the foundation or the university. In most cases, those places were converted to university uses, ranging from housing and parking to residence halls and classrooms. Nothing is new in all of that.

That being said, the latest proposed push into old neighborhoods is stirring concern among homeowners and others. That’s to be expected. While many residents of the area like being in the university district, the relationship with the school and foundation could get tense if proposed purchases are not executed with care, fairness and sensitivity. Sometimes that’s a tough call. One person’s fairness is another’s insult.

Nonetheless, this much is certain: NDSU will expand its footprint in north Fargo. Affected neighborhoods will change to accommodate the school’s needs. Sometimes those needs will fit well in a neighborhood; sometimes they won’t. But the least NDSU and the foundation can do is be upfront with neighborhood residents about the how, why and when of proposed acquisitions.

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Forum editorials represent the opinion of Forum management and the newspaper’s Editorial Board.