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Campus Housing Rearranged to Welcome Hundreds More Students
“Living on a residential campus and among your peers is extremely important; especially those first-year experiences play a big part in the growth of these students"
The Leland Speed scholarship was created to help lift the burden of cost of higher education for Mississippi families. Through this scholarship, the possibility of getting a college education has opened up to many who would not have been able to afford it in the past. Because of this new education opportunity now open to so many across the state, the school has seen a spike in application numbers, admits, and housing deposits as students prepare for the Fall 2023 semester.
These new arrangements will be based around freshmen being centered on campus. Freshman premium housing will be in East and West towers, non-premium will be Hederman hall, Gunter Hall, and Mary Nelson Hall, and freshman overflow will be in Whittington Hall. Upperclassman premium housing will be in Quick Hall and Cockroft-Caldwell Hall. Non-premium upperclassmen will be housed in Whittington Hall, Latimer Webb Hall, and Chrestman Hall. Upperclassmen apartment housing will be available at University Place and College Plaza. The main goal of this new arrangement was to be able to keep freshmen central on campus to emphasize the sense of community, especially during their first year away from home.
According to records provided by Associate Vice President for the Student Experience & Dean of Students Jonathan Ambrose, as of January 30, 2023, a total of 864 new students have signed up for campus housing next year. The university is projecting to hit about 1,000 new students by August of this year. Included in that number are a projected 200 out-of-state freshmen.
This is the largest incoming class the school has ever had. With these record-high numbers come growing pains for the school. “Living on a residential campus and among your peers is extremely important; especially those first-year experiences play a big part in the growth of these students,” said Ambrose. “The housing arrangements on campus were made purely based on numbers of incoming students and creating space for them.”
Questions around the use of Ratliff Hall have circled campus ever since it shut down. For the time being, Ratliff Hall will be used for campus storage. Due to the amount of work that needs to be done in Ratliff Hall and the nature of the old building, repairs would come at a very high cost to the university in order to transform it into an acceptable living space for students.
“Although we have older buildings on campus, MC wants the student housing experience to be the same for everybody, and with Ratliff, it’s not possible at this time. We want to provide what students need and want in a healthy living space,” said Ambrose, “We are exploring all contingencies as it relates to our numbers. We have to.”
As of right now, the possibility of adding new campus housing is unknown, and the university will be monitoring its numbers to see what else is needed to meet students’ needs outside of opening up older buildings again. The cost of building is not realistic right now without knowing the long-term enrollment numbers.
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