Jacksonville State's Planned
Residence Facility - Stadium Project:
Your Questions Answered
(Editor's Note: Following is Dr. Bill Meehan's Town and Gown column, published in the November 19, 2008 issue of the Jacksonville News.)
We hope by now most of Jacksonville's residents are aware of the Residence Facility/Paul Snow Stadium project that JSU is about to embark upon. To prevent any misinformation, we want to provide you with clear answers to some frequently-asked questions.
Why a residence hall project at the same time and place?
Over the last ten years, JSU has razed five of its old residence halls. These were buildings in disrepair and not the style of living that students of today prefer. Our new residence hall complex will accommodate our students' desire for community living with three to four bedrooms that will share two baths and a common living area with a kitchenette.
Using the site of Paul Snow Stadium for our new residence hall provides significant cost savings. It allows for residential housing parking in addition to the stadium. In addition, infrastructure costs such as elevators and main entranceways can be reduced by accommodating dual use for housing and the stadium.
It simply makes good sense to combine these projects.
What about closing Cole Drive and upgrading the sewer lines?
The city's engineers and our own consultants have advised us that new sewer lines would have to be constructed no matter where we place our residence halls. The city's lines simply need to be updated and the Sewer Improvement Agreement we are finalizing with the city has JSU agreeing to upgrade the sewer lines to serve JSU and the city from campus all the way to the 30-inch sewer line located west of Oak Avenue. JSU's cost is approximately $1.2 million.
JSU owns the entire block bordered by West Mountain, Forney and Cole Drives, NW. The construction boundaries will be headquartered from the current RV/Tailgate lot, which will eventually be a parking lot for the residence hall/stadium complex.
How will renovation and construction costs be paid?
With regard to payment for these facilities, the housing portion of the bonds will be repaid through dormitory room rents. The stadium renovation will be repaid through a combination of club-level seating, ticket sales, game guarantees, leasing of the boxes and other athletic fundraising.
What about academics at JSU - do they take a backseat to athletics?
Over the last ten years the university has spent more than $45 million dollars on the renovation and construction of academic facilities. These include major renovations to Ayers Hall, Houston Cole Library, Martin Hall, the construction of the McGee Hall Science Center, the new Gladys Carlisle Art Building and the Little River Canyon Field School. In the same time period, the university has spent less than $7 million on new athletic facilities.
Along with the expansion of academic facilities, we have been able to increase the number of full-time faculty positions by 26.9 percent in the past ten years. Through these efforts and those of our very talented faculty, JSU has obtained more specialized program accreditations than any other regional university in the state of Alabama. In addition, during the past two years the JSU faculty distinguished themselves by having more Fulbright Scholars than any other regional university in the state, and was second in the state only to the University of Alabama in total numbers of Fulbright Scholars.
Jacksonville State University's future is bright indeed, and our plan is to be prepared for whatever the years ahead may bring.
(Patty Hobbs, Director of Public Relations, contributed to this article.)