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Funding changes the face of MU

A computer generated image of what the new dorms will look like upon completion.

Laura Maginley
Assoc. News Editor

The news about Millersville University’s new dorm renovation project has pushed its way into the local news circuit since it was announced on September 10.  The University plans to build eight new dormitories over the course of five years with a budget of $180 million.  No state funds will be used during this project and the bill will be taken care of with private bonds issued through Student Services Inc.

The project will include four phases of design and construction and the first phase is estimated to cost $45 million.  “After each phase there will be an assessment to determine if we move forward with the project, meaning we will look at our enrollment and pricing to determine if any factors have changed to warrant discontinuing future construction,” explained Dr. Aminta Breaux, vice president of student affairs.

A computer generated aerial shot of the new proposed quad in the coming years.

The new four-story buildings will be owned by Student Services Inc., however Millersville University will retain ownership of the land under the new dorms located in the South Quad.

International Education Week

Work is scheduled to begin in May of 2013 and will mark the beginning of the University’s largest construction project to date.

Millersville University, along with the 13 additional Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE) universities, will operate under the same funding through the 2012-13 school year as it did last year.  The initial state budget direction of a 20 percent reduction was amended, passed and signed into law with no further cuts.

“The University is very much concerned with the cost of higher education but it is important to ensure that students have the learning environments to help them graduate and achieve success.  Research has shown that living on campus promotes the development and growth of students, and increases the likelihood that students will continue on and graduate.  I want to reiterate that no state funds will be used for this project,” shared Breaux.

The money used for this project is solely meant for this project and could not be applied to any other use on campus.

The entrance to the dorms will be equipped with a student common area and desk attendants.

Burrowes Hall was the last dormitory to be built, which was in 1971.  Renovations have been completed during the years of 2000-12, but were to solely improve the basic infrastructure of the facilities.  “The renovations that were made to improve the basic infrastructure of the facilities, but not to address the programmatic needs that support student learning.  For example, we upgraded the showers to eliminate the community showers and provide partitions that allow more privacy,” stated Breaux.

Overall, the project will provide 2000 new beds, the first phase alone creating 695 new beds.  The first pair of dorms are scheduled to be completed in August 2014.

“Those involved in overseeing this project remain very much concerned about providing suitable learning and living environments for our students, while balancing affordability for our students and their family.  The questions regarding that balance remain in the forefront of our minds as we finalize the plans for phase I of the new residence halls,” said Breaux.