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IHL trims budget priorities, approves 2010 budget

JACKSON — The Mississippi Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning (IHL) has approved the FY 2010 system operating budget and revised its original FY 2011 budget priorities.

In his first regular meeting as commissioner of higher education, Dr. Hank Bounds presented the revised budget recommendation, which the board approved in light of the state’s current economic situation and revenue forecasts. The original FY 2011 budget priorities included an appropriations request of $260.6 million over the FY 2010 appropriation. The revised priorities include an appropriation request of $42.9 million over the FY 2010 appropriation. The funds are requested to cover cost of living and inflationary increases only.

“We are committed to pursuing adequate, stable funding to move this university system forward,” said Bounds. “However, we must be practical, and we must be realistic considering the tough economic situation we face and the limited funds our Legislature will have available for appropriations.”

The board voted to support the University of Southern Mississippi’s (USM’s) recommendation to select two parcels of land in the Cross Creek development as the preferred location for the university’s new campus. This is the third land package within the Cross Creek development to be considered. The two parcels of land, which are separated only by a power easement, are situated such that the campus will be fully integrated into the new community, within comfortable walking distance of the town center, and visible from I-10. Plans for the Cross Creek campus include a multiphase development that will ultimately serve up to 12,000 students from South Mississippi and the surrounding areas.

In other news, the board approved the initiation of a number of real estate projects and the naming of project professionals for other projects. The board approved the ground leases and related documentation for a dormitory at Delta State University and a parking garage at the USM. Both projects are being financed through the legislatively-approved private development delivery method.

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