- Associated Press - Saturday, April 11, 2015

ITTA BENA, Miss. (AP) - Mississippi Valley State University has raised its budget by $1.1 million to cover costs of buying and installing modular housing on its campus.

The university originally intended to lease the dorms, but concluded it would be better to buy them. However, the school is collecting less revenue than expected, because MVSU had projected it would house 50 more students than it has room for, College Board documents state. President Bill Bynum said the units that were delivered had fewer beds than those for which the school had budgeted.

College Board documents show Valley had to pay $594,000 to connect utilities to the units, when it originally projected that it would pay $200,000.

The university had expected to lose $187,000 after collecting room fees from students, but will actually lose more than $1.1 million.

The College Board approved the higher spending last month.

Bynum says the university “completely misjudged” the situation and that the facilities director is no longer handing such responsibilities. He said Valley has hired a new director of capital projects to try to prevent future problems.

Though enrollment has fallen over time, Valley has a campus housing shortage because empty dorms need renovation. The university bought the modular units because it had been paying to house about 100 students in two Greenwood motels before this year.

Valley’s housing situation was a source of discontent among African-American lawmakers in the legislative recent session. As they unsuccessfully pushed for more bond money to speed up housing repairs at the 2,200-student campus, some supporters said the “trailers” that students are living in are inappropriate.

The university is spending $4.75 million to renovate the 170-bed College Hall, which Valley stopped using after a fire damaged the dorm in 2004. The university put a new roof on College Hall in 2009, but otherwise hadn’t done any major renovations since it was built in 1964. The current project calls for new interiors, energy efficient equipment, an elevator, a generator, new signs, sidewalks and exterior lighting.

College Hall is expected to reopen in fall 2016.

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