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The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

Rumors of Rice Hall demolition false

Misconceptions about Mississippi State University’s housing policies, plans and procedures are being circulated throughout campus, and rumors have started from it.  
The most talked about rumor is the demolition of Rice Hall. Rice hall was built in 1968 and houses a total of 500 students. There has been word that the Housing department will tear it down.  
Fred Mock, the interim director of housing, said he is not sure of what to do with Rice Hall.
“It’s definitely an option to tear down Rice, however, we don’t know,” Mock said. “We could renovate it like we did in Hawthorn and Creswell. I don’t know the direction we will take on that.” 
Rice was built in 1968 and has not reached the age where it will be considered historic. It is only 47 years old. Mock said he is aware of the problems going on in Rice Hall.
“Its old. The bathrooms are old, the elevators are old and we know all of that, but there are students who lived in that community that make lifelong friends, a lot of people are placed there who love Rice,” Mock said. “It’s hard to dress up a seven story building and if we do tear it down, what we would build in its place would be a three to four story building. It wouldn’t be a seven story one and rice hall holds 500 students.”
Amongst rumors is first-time freshman can live off-campus. Only freshman with certain criteria may live off campus their first year at State.
Dante Hill, associate director of residence life,  explains more in detail about the freshman exemption rule.
“There is a freshman residency exemption requirement and if a student is a first time freshman, lives within a 30 mile radius of campus and they want to live at home with their family, then they can fill out the form to be exempt from it. Personal and Compelling reasons also affect this exemption, or anyone over 21.  If it’s a first time freshman who, for example, had been in the army for five years before coming to college, they have lived life a little bit more (than an 17-19 year old), and we would find that a personal compelling reason and that student will not have to live on campus,” Hill said.
The exemption form is on the housing website called housing exemption form requirement, on the right hand side and once a student submit that form they must submit the supporting documentation as well to be reviewed for exemption. 
Does MSU offer on campus apartments? Mock said, in an interview,  MSU no longer have apartments. Arbor Acres    Apartments, where Oak and Magnolia are at now, were several small buildings and housed 102 students and now there are 700 students living in that area. 
What will become of Hull Hall? Hull is a historic building and there are extra measures that will have to be taken if anything is to happen to Hull, such as: tear it down, turn it into office space, or renovate it and remain a resident hall. As of now and next school year Hull will remain a residency hall. 
Hull Hall is speculated to be a residence hall for engineers. 
Lari Wright, Associate Director of Administrative Operations, and Starkville native, explained about Hull Hall and the Engineering department.
“It was a Living and Learning Community and it was for male and female. There was two specific floors reserved for both of male and females on opposite wings, and they had mentors on the hall that would help them with their work. This has been the first year the engineer department has not had their Living Learning Community in Hull Hall this current academic year of 2014-2015 and it wasn’t a housing decision,” ,said Wright. 
  Some students have a misunderstanding about MSU housing policies. MSU does not set the rules for the residence halls. Rules and procedures are set by H.I.L in Jackson, Mississippi.
“We know our visitation rules are strict but that is set by H.I.L policy down in Jackson, not us. We know our alcohol rules are strict again that’s an HIL policy in Jackson not us,” ,said Mock. “I know some of them don’t like the visitation rule and some don’t like the alcohol rule and few of the other rules we have.”
Hill said, no side is completely satisfied by the rules set for the residence halls. 
“I think it’s a balancing game, the students don’t like the policies, but then at orientation the parents who are outraged that we allow visitors to stay till 2 A.M. We know the students want something different and the parents want something different and H.I.L is trying to balance the middle ground for the policies we’re allowed to have,” said Hill. 
Also in circulation is that the new residence halls built are only to last 10 years, because it’s cheaper to tear them down then to keep renovating them. That is not true; the residence halls are built to last as long as they can. (They are expected to last more than 10 years).
Mock believes that this rumor is based off the foundation and wood work of the building.
 “It goes back to the wood construction of the newer residence halls and a lot of people see that and they think it’s a temporary building and if you look at Haven 12 apartments, Courtyard Marriot they are wood frame, now the new buildings we are building were Evans Hall use to be will be concrete and steel and anything we’ve built will last,” said Mock. “That rumor gets started because we don’t get any money from the legislator to build residence halls, but if we build a new classroom building then we get money from the government. We sell a bond when we build new buildings. When we built Ruby Hall, we had to sell a bond and we pay that bond off in 25 years; so part of what the students pay to live in Ruby goes towards our debt and we write a big check to the bond company (which is like a bank).
Some students believe that with all the damages done recently is what is causing the cost for housing to increase. Everything students pay in rent or housing bill runs the housing dept. It pays our salaries, the electric bill, the IAs and RAs paychecks come from it. 
The cost to stay in housing is going up 4 percent for next year and if a student looks at the consumer price index, it goes up at least 2 percent every year. Power rates creep up every year the cost of custodial supplies creep up every year that’s why we do that and we do not make a profit and any money we make that we don’t spend goes back to helping us improve other buildings so if the butler guest house was to get reroof in a couple of weeks I can do that because we have saved up to do that so say it cost a student 3k a year and it only cost 2800 to house them we keep that 200 dollars in the housing budget. 
We have insurance policies on our buildings that protects us against flood, fire, and wind damages just think of home owners insurance and the deductable you have to pay, our deductable is we pay the first $100,000 dollars and then insurance pays the rest that’s why we don’t make a profit and we saved that extra money for emergency purposes. We pay $20 million dollars for these halls and only have to pay 100,000 is a pretty good price.” 
Hill explained the extra money pays for residence hall’s events like crawfish boils and anything that a residence hall do for students how they formulate our budget for RHA, RDs, and RAs and they don’t get money from Student Association to fund their programs.

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Rumors of Rice Hall demolition false