At the intersection of tradition and progress

Watauga County is considered a rural county but the area has seen significant growth in the last few years, driven in part by Appalachian State’s focus on increasing enrollment. At the dawn of the 21st century, Watauga’s population was 42,695. That number has grown significantly – in 2016, the county’s population was almost 54,000  people.

This rapid growth in what has been a traditional, rural community brings conflict, seen in the fierce debates over how to develop the land. How much student housing does Watauga County need? How many asphalt plants? These matters are hotly debated and expensively litigated…



Overlooking a cow pasture and some homes to see construction on the new building for Appalachian State’s Beaver College of Health Sciences.


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