ITTA BENA — Mississippi Valley State University now plans to buy modular housing units, rather than lease them.
The College Board approved the purchase plan. It had earlier approved a lease plan.
Higher Education Chancellor Hank Bounds told the College Board that Valley will save money by purchasing because it will be able to resell the units when it’s done with them.
“What we have learned is that purchasing the units is actually less expensive than leasing them,” Bounds said.
The modular units will house 50 to 150 students, but won’t be ready until after classes start. Valley plans to house some students at hotels until Sept. 30, at the latest.
College Board officials estimated that Valley will spend up to $900,000 for the modular units, about $200,000 to set them up and connect utilities and up to $90,000 for a few weeks of hotel rental.
The university expects to recoup $400,000 a year on housing fees for two years. Bounds said that Valley probably wouldn’t recoup all its money, but said the university also lost money last year renting the Three Rivers Inn & Suites and the Rodeway Inn in Greenwood to house about 100 students.
Though students ate in the university dining hall and had shuttles to campus, Valley officials reported students were unsatisfied and some may have left the school because they were forced to live off campus. Valley, the smallest of Mississippi’s eight public universities, is struggling to stop declining enrollment.
“Having students on campus gives us a much better opportunity to retain them,” Bounds said.
Once College Hall I is renovated, Valley expects to sell the trailers and remove them.