The first new student housing at Mississippi College in 20 years is expected to enhance recruiting and retention by providing apartment-style housing rather than traditional residence halls and features like private rooms, high-speed Internet connectivity, electronic key systems and electronic security systems.
MC’s eight new $16-million apartment units that will provide housing for 189 students are expected to be substantially completed by July 17. Students will able to move in by late August. The housing provides many of the new bells and whistles in demand by students.
“We are keenly aware that the amenities in residence halls have an impact on recruiting and retention,” said Steve Stanford, vice president for the MC Office for Administration & Government Relations. “We have kept that in mind as the designs have evolved. Students today have higher expectations and certainly seek as many of the comforts and conveniences of home in their ‘home away from home’.”
New sidewalks and green spaces surrounding the housing help add to the goal of creating a community environment that Stanford said has always been a developmental goal of campus housing.
As a private institution, the second-oldest Baptist college in the U.S. competes for students with both public and other private universities in Mississippi and in neighboring states.
“Today’s students usually visit many university campuses before making decisions about where they will attend college, so having comparable facilities is important,” Stanford said.
University Place, built on the site of the former Clinton Junior High School, includes eight buildings, each with six separate units housing four residents.
There are special needs/American Disability Act units and an area coordinator’s apartment. In a typical unit, there are private bedrooms. Two of the four residents will share a connecting bathroom and shower. Each unit also has an open living space and kitchen for the four residents to share. These units will be fully furnished, although residents can bring additional “fill-ins” to personalize.
The brick apartment buildings are three stories tall with French doors leading to balconies on the upper levels.
MC students who reside in campus housing are traditional, full-time undergraduate students.
“These traditional student’s scholarships are connected with their living on campus, so the vast majority of our undergraduates, at least through their junior years, live on campus in one of our halls,” Stanford said. “Although not exclusively, we do find that the majority of our most actively involved and engaged students do live on campus where they have the greatest opportunity to participate in our community and student life activities.”
Stanford said typically, room and board in one of their traditional halls is more affordable than living in an apartment.
“We have priced University Place living comparably to apartment costs in the Clinton community,” he said. “Of course, these students will not be required to purchase meal plans. Another benefit to these residents, in addition to having an apartment-living experience, is that scholarships that are tied to on-campus living will still apply.”
University Place will initially be occupied by upper classmen, and the development may help ease traffic congestion from students commuting from off campus.
“These students will receive parking decals which will allow them to park in the University Place lots and will also allow them limited access to some lots on the main campus, such as “all-park” areas,” Stanford said. “However, the existing commuter and faculty/staff lots will not be included for residence student use. This will result in little impact to current parking. If these students had moved off-campus and commuted, then more vehicles would be seeking space in our commuter lots.”
No current housing will be vacated as a result of the new development.
The new apartments will help the college keep pace with the growth in student enrollment. The fall of 2014, enrollment was 5,063.
“University Place is very much a welcome addition, adding to our current resident housing,” said Tracy W. May, executive assistant, MC Office for Administration & Government Relations.
Dean and Dean Associates Architects designed the project with Probity Contracting Group serving as the general contractor.
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