As the 2018 legislative session approaches, colleges and universities across the state are hoping to see a different plan from state legislators to fund on-campus repairs and renovations. MPB's Ashley Norwood reports on some of the universities' facility needs.
Mississippi's eight public universities are requesting a little over $512 million dollars to fund maintenance and construction projects in the coming year. During the last session, legislators did not offer universities any bond funding for maintenance requests. Higher Education Commissioner Glenn Boyce...
"Our campuses absolutely need the kind of repair and renovation type money and bond money that helps us make sure that this deferred maintenance is taken care of for our facilities," said Boyce.
For example, Mississippi University for Women is once again requesting new fire panels to strengthen their fire alarm system and carbon monoxide detection. Nora Miller with the university says new panels might have helped detect a recent carbon monoxide leak that caused a dormitory to evacuate.
"We're getting a report from a mechanical engineer on how we can have a stronger detection system that's tied into our existing fire alarm and detecting system," said Miller.
President William Bynum at Jackson State University says there's a shortage of housing for male students. JSU is requesting $7.5 million to renovate and reopen Stewart Hall. University officials believe it hasn't been renovated since its construction in 1961.
The last session ended without a bond bill. Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves said at that time, “We’re not going to operate as they do in Washington D.C. and borrow money we cannot afford to pay back.”
Appropriation committee chairmen in the Senate and House could not be reached for comment.