CL plans to build new dorm

Published 9:50 am Friday, May 6, 2016

Copiah-Lincoln Community College plans to construct a new women’s dormitory at a cost of about $5 million.

The Co-Lin Board of Trustees  on Thursday approved a resolution to allow the Mississippi Development Bank to sell the school’s special obligation bonds in the amount of $4.5 million to build the dorm.

“The board is approving the funding of the expenditure,” board attorney John Henley said of the resolution. “There will still be the bidding out of the actual construction. You are not actually approving the construction with this — you are approving borrowing the money in order to pay for that construction.”

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“This is what we have to do to get the funds in order to pay for the dormitory,” Henley said. “We’ve got a number of experts that are going to work to get us the best interest rate and then all the other things. Eventually, the bonds will be sold to a bank; the bank will give the college the money, and the college will use the money to build the dormitories.”

“If you never do the transaction, the money’s not gone,” Henley said. “You will be able to pay the bonds back immediately. Before you can commit to the spending of the building of the dormitory, you have to know where the money is coming from. This is the step to get you into the position so that you actually can go ahead and bid the project and know where the money is coming from to pay for it.”

Co-Lin President Ronnie Nettles explained to the board that building the new women’s dormitory will cost more than the $4.5 million the bonds will provide.

“The total cost of this project is closer to $5.1 to $5.3 million,” Nettles said. “We have money already available through the state bond fund — close to a million dollars to add to this project. This is not paying for the full construction, but this will allow us to have all of the funds we need to precede. Those state bond funds will be sold in August so that money will be available then. We don’t take action on that part at this time anyway.”

Nettles said the college conducted a dormitory assessment eight years ago, which showed a great need to upgrade Co-Lin’s living facilities. Bates Hall was on the men’s side and now this new dormitory would be on the women’s side, he said.

“We’ve been working on this dormitory for three years,” Nettles said. “All of the plans have been developed. Everything is to the point of all we need is to get the funds, so we can go ahead and bid the job. We’re ready to proceed when the funding is available and ready to go.”

“It will basically be the same size, same style dorm as Bates Hall,” Nettles said. “This one will be very similar in the way it looks and the layout — which is a very cost effective dormitory, compared to what you might spend at a university for 56 beds.”

A new women’s dormitory will allow the college to phase out Copiah Hall, which was built more than 100 years ago.

“We could possibly get some more years of usage out of Copiah Hall, but it is not worth the amount of money that it would take to bring that dorm up to modern standards,” Nettles said. “In all likelihood, we could possibly keep both of those dormitories going for a few years, but I think our recommendation, as an administration, would be to phase that dormitory out in a relatively short amount of time.”

Nettles expects the college to begin construction on the dormitory this fall in order to have it open for the Spring 2018 semester, if all goes as planned and weather permitting.

In other board business:

• The board approved the administration to make a request to the board of supervisors in each county of their district for an increase in support funds for the 2017 fiscal year, according to and in compliance with state statue.

• The board approved to allow dual enrollment students, taking classes on one of the Co-Lin campuses, to exceed the 28-hour limit (or 50 percent of a CTE certificate program). Students will be charged the regular tuition/fee rate.