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Higher Education News from the Collegiate Way

These news items about residential colleges, collegiate houses, and the renewal of university life are posted for readers of the Collegiate Way website. For more about residential colleges and collegiate universities please visit the main Collegiate Way page.

Mississippi Leads the (Collegiate) Way

[The University of Mississippi] — Reporter Elizabeth Crisp in today’s Jackson Clarion-Ledger brings us up to date on the University of Mississippi’s plans to open its first residential college next fall.

State universities see housing boom

Mississippi’s public universities—acting on the demands of students—are pouring millions into the construction of campus housing.

Several schools have housing developments under construction or plan to start on them this year. Others recently have completed projects.

But gone are the days of mundane corridors and community showers. These days, college residence halls have the feel of some modern hotels.

“Students are coming to college now with higher expectations about their living space,” said Ann Bailey, housing director at Mississippi State University.

In Oxford, the University of Mississippi will open its $46.5 million “residential college” this fall. The college is intended to create a sort of mini-campus for students. Officials say it will encourage students from different backgrounds, pursuing varying majors to have more interaction with a diverse community.

Students are encouraged to live there all four years of college. The four-story structure, located behind the law school, will have living space for faculty, staff and students.

Beyond housing, it will have a dining hall, classrooms, a fitness and game room, a music practice room, theater facilities, a teaching kitchen and even a produce market.

A second similar development could open in 2010.

“I think it’s a wonderful idea,” Ole Miss senior Natalie Montalvo said. “These students will really be able to have a better connection with their professors and their majors. I think it will make the overall experience better for them.”

I had the pleasure of helping these plans get off the ground several years ago, and from the beginning the Ole Miss residential college project has been the recipient of a good deal of very perceptive reporting.

May this new college be the first of many more to come.

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