MC

Mississippi College

Resident Housing Booked Solid at MC

August 13, 2007

Mississippi College's residence halls are booked solid due to another record enrollment and that's prompted school officials to secure additional apartments for dozens of MC students near the Clinton campus.

All signs point to an increase of at least 7 percent above last fall's record 4,162 MC students, and that's forced school leaders to study other options in recent months with classes to begin Aug. 22.

MC leaders say they anticipate MC women and international students will be assigned rooms in the East College Street apartment complex a block from the school, and across from the old Clinton Junior High. The facility will be served by an MC residence hall director,and a security officer on a dawn to dusk basis. Shuttle buses will ferry students to and from school much of the day and evening. At least one gate is being added to enhance security.

MC officials discussed plans for the newest MC-run facility at an orientation program Thursday that drew more than 100 new students and their parents.

Being pushed to secure additional MC housing due to surging enrollment surge is really good news for the Christian university, said Jim Turcotte, MC vice president of enrollment services and student affairs. "MC is a real destination for students," he told scores of parents at a morning session in the student union.

Room costs for students at the complex known as College Plaza Apartments will be the same as on-campus housing or $1,850 per semester. Scholarships for students staying there this fall will not be affected, Turcotte said in response to a parent's question. Each of the units comes equipped with a kitchen, so students would have the option of opting out of a campus meal plan.

Space at the apartment complex is a little bigger than what students can expect at residence halls on the Clinton campus. All units will undergo some renovations, painting and cleaning to get ready for students to move in next week. "I'd personally put my daughter in there," Turcotte said. MC plans to eventually purchase the complex from the owner, an MC alumnus.

This week, the 40-unit apartment complex will be home to dozens of undergraduates. The complex is getting positive reviews from MC students like sophomore Ivana Kanengiser, 19, of Pearl. "It's better than a dorm," said Kanengiser, a Mississippi Delta Community College transfer student after checking out the Clinton apartment and its kitchen for the first time Monday. "I'll have my own space," added the Pearl High School graduate who's a marketing major and Lady Choctaws soccer player. "I'm looking forward to it."

While some of the final enrollment numbers won't be known for a few weeks, MC officials anticipate there will be an additional 100 students to serve in campus housing this fall. Next year, that number is expected to grow. "Next year, it could be 400," he said.

Some of the numbers aren't known yet until international students arrive, with some coming next week from countries as far as 6,000 miles away. The number of international students has grown exponentially at MC, from fewer than 10 several years ago to 240 in fall 2006.

Plans for new shuttle routes will target needs of MC students in the newest complex, but especially many of the international students at complexes around town. The buses are expected to include stops like Wal-Mart off U.S. 80, Turcotte told the parents.

While the complex will be served by a shuttle bus, Kanengiser may buy a bike to get to and from MC classes and soccer practices.

Following a welcoming address by President Lee Royce, other topics were discussed at last Thursday's orientation session, including financial aid, study abroad opportunities in places like London and South Korea, Career Services programs, and stepped up efforts to communicate with students by text messages and emails should emergencies arise.

The big move-in date for hundreds of MC students will be Saturday, Aug. 18. But there's no need for parents to haul furniture, computers, luggage, books, favorite pillows, and other items into the dorms, said Rick Hartfield, director of student life. About 30 MC undergraduates from the Baptist Student Union, social tribes and other clubs will be on hand to assist new students joining the MC family.

Photo: MC sophomore, Ivana Kanengiser, 19, of Pearl, among the new residents of the College Plaza Apartments near the Clinton campus.