How Will Community Colleges Spend New Bond Money?By Jeffrey Hess | Published 15 Apr 2011 01:58pm |
Mississippi Community colleges are preparing to spend their share of a massive bond bill approved by the state legislature this year. MPB's Jeffrey Hess reports on how the 15 colleges are splitting 25 million dollars.
The schools will share half the 25-million dollars equally, with the other half being distributed based on their enrollment.
That puts Hinds Community College, with nearly 20-thousand students, at the top....getting about 2.6-million dollars of the bond money.
Hinds president Dr. Clyde Muse says a big portion of that money will be used to update their science building.
"The equipment is outdated. We have got some problems with air handling units. We have just got a lot of issues there. We have already some money into it and we will add to that," Muse said.
Enrollment at Community Colleges has grown by about 30-percent in the recession as students look for more affordable options and adults seek new career training.
Dr. Ronnie Nettles, the president of Copiah-Lincoln Community College in Wesson, says he plans to use all of their 1.4-million dollars to improve buildings, especially student dorms.
"The dormitories that were built for us, I got one on campus here that was built in 1928, although it has had some renovations since then it is still not what many people would consider a modern dormitory," Nettles said.
Not all the schools plan to spend the money right away.
Scott Elliot, the president of Meridian Community College, says they will save their share to work towards building a new dorm.
"In a project of that magnitude, very often what you have to do is leave money in trust with the Bureau of Buildings until you have enough in trust to complete a project. And that is probably what we are looking at," Elliot said.
Community Colleges have become increasingly central to the Mississippi education system...about 75% of all college Mississippi freshmen attend a community college.
And with adult education and workforce training factored in, Community Colleges education around 250-thousand Mississippians a year.
*Photo courtesty of hindscc.edu
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