With enrollment continuing to rise, Jacksonville State
University’s goal to exceed the 10,000-student mark is within reach.
The trouble is: Where to put all those students?
Jacksonville State President Dr. William Meehan told the Board of Trustees
Tuesday that more on-campus housing will be needed … and soon.
“The JSU Foundation is considering a proposal to the Board that would build
apartment-like dormitories and provide 300 to 500 additional living spaces on
campus or adjacent to campus,” Meehan told the board.
“The importance of apartment style facilities should not be overlooked as
studies across higher education indicate that today, new students are making
their choice of college not only because of the institution but because of where
they will live.
“The preferred style is in an apartment-like setting with private bedrooms
and baths and a common living area shared by a mall number of roommates. Today,
this type of facility is being built most often on college and university
Meehan told the trustees that university housing is within the 90th
percentile for occupancy this fall. The report indicated the occupancy rate of
university housing, apartment and resident halls is at 98 percent. The report
also indicates the reopening of Curtiss Hall and other renovations made to
living environments this year.
“This fall for the first time in years the Office of University Housing and
Residence had waiting lists for men’s and women’s dormitories,” Meehan said.
“This is a further indication of the need for additional housing.”
Meehan said the fall enrollment was at 8,957, which is the third-highest
enrollment in the school’s history.
“We have made significant progress over the last eight years with a 15.8
percent enrollment increase,” Meehan said. “We will recruit qualified students
first from Alabama, but we will also target states like Florida where
projections indicate 135,000 additional college students over the next five
Meehan also said the school will continue to pursue distance learning as a
viable option for delivery of course work and programs. Distance learning was
chosen by 2,385 students this fall.
JSU alumnus Tim Garner, who has worked with such companies as Kellogg and
M&M Mars on marketing, talked to the board about how the university needs to
market itself. He suggested the university find ways to build corporate
sponsorships and partnerships, plus aligning the school’s public relations
Athletics Director Jim Fuller told the trustees that his department’s
director of marketing, Mike Parris, had upped sponsorship by 40 percent from
last year. The school is now searching for an assistant athletics director for
development. This person would oversee a comprehensive fund development program.
The board approved three message boards at a cost of over $1 million. This
includes a new scoreboard for Paul Snow Stadium at a cost of over $800,000.
Funding from advertising sales and private gifts will sponsor these projects.
Fuller said the new scoreboard would be in operation by next season and could be
ready by the spring football game.
The board also voted to give faculty and staff an across-the-board 5 percent
raise, and heard the results of a faculty survey about whether to move the music
facility from the Jacksonville campus to the McClellan campus. Of the 19 faculty
members who responded, nine said they want to move to McClellan, seven wanted to
stay on the Jacksonville campus and three had no preference.
JSU’s current $25 million capital campaign includes a goal of $7.5 million
for a new center for musical arts.
“We have got to have significantly more fundraising to make this a reality,” said Joe Serviss, vice president for Institutional