The state College Board is asking the Mississippi Legislature for millions of dollars. In fact, the board is seeking $229.8 million, $130.8 million of which is a bond request.
The College Board wants to fix some of its more than 1,600 buildings that need new roofs, elevators, electrical upgrades and other improvements. It says three out of every 25 buildings are more than 25 years old with some dating to the 1880s, and 1960s architecture is prevalent on the campuses.
In his State of the State speech, Gov. Haley Barbour said he would oppose any new debt that isn't related to job creation. The news has made some in the university system nervous, but Democratic state Rep. Tommy Reynolds, from Charleston, said universities should be viewed as essential to job creation.
Reynolds says Mississippi's colleges and universities are crucial for economic development. In fact, he partially credited universities for the Nissan factory in Canton and the Toyota plant which will soon open in Blue Springs near Tupelo.