By Michael McLendon
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – New buildings to call home! That’s what future Tennessee State University students will have when two new residence halls are completed.
The $75,300,000 project is one step closer to reality following approval for construction from the State Building Commission. The plan was presented by the Tennessee Board of Regents for TSU’s student modernization program late Thursday morning.
“Anytime a university can expand its footprint, that is a definite sign of growth,” said TSU President Glenda Glover. “The additional housing will benefit our students, as well as the entire Tennessee State University family.”
With the increased expense of off-campus housing and a record-setting freshman class at TSU, President Glover stated that the new housing is critical in the recruitment and retention of students.
“New residence halls represent a remarkable recruiting tool, and add to the life of any college campus,” Glover added.
State Senator Thelma Harper, a TSU alumnae and staunch supporter of the university’s construction plan, issued a press release just minutes after the commission gave the student housing development the green light.
“Student housing has a big effect on their education,” Harper said. “Across this country, many universities have already tapped into the benefits of ‘Live and Learn’ dorm environments which ultimately attracts more students and results in increased enrollment.”
Cynthia Brooks, TSU Vice President of Business Finance, explained that the debt for the buildings will be repaid from student housing fees, and that the next steps included the design phase.
“The next step is to engage an architect who will get campus input and design the new facilities,” Brooks said. “That process should be completed by December 2018. Contractor bidding and selection will then occur, with actual construction projected to begin Summer 2019.”
The announcement comes at a critical time for TSU housing as more students are deciding to transition back to campus because of the high cost of living in the city of Nashville. Dr. Tracy Ford, head of Student Affairs, echoed that sentiment.
“We are extremely happy to receive this great news,” said Ford, the vice president of Student Affairs for TSU. “The university’s goal is to have the freshman class of 2020, as well as returning students, as the first occupants of these new halls.”
The residence halls additions, combined with Glover’s recent announcement of two new academic buildings, are signs of a new era of expansion at TSU. While details about the new engineering facility are yet to be disclosed, Glover informed the TSU community during the university’s opening convocation that $40,000,000 has been secured for the construction of a health sciences facility.
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With more than 9,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 38 bachelor’s degree programs, 25 master’s degree programs and seven doctoral degrees. TSU has earned a top 20 ranking for Historically Black Colleges and Universities according to U.S. News and World Report, and rated as one of the top universities in the country by Washington Monthly for social mobility, research and community service. Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University celebrated 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.