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25 October 2006

Enrollment at JSU Continues to Rise

Reprinted here in its entirety.

By: John Alred
Jacksonville News Staff Writer

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 campuses.”

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 years.”

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 departments.

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 Advancement.

See story at The Jacksonville News's website: .

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