The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

MSU officials work toward reconstructing Aiken Village

 
Mississippi State University plans to rebuild the graduate student apartment complex Aiken Village in two phases. The first phase will open by fall 2013.
Construction of phase two will begin after opening the first site. 
Bill Kibler, vice president for student affairs, said the current design for both phases will be around 125 units with 250 beds.
Kibler said MSU is excited to be able to offer graduate student housing again.
“Mississippi State as of fall 2013 will not only be offering housing for graduate students again, but it will be very nice housing that we can be very proud to point to,” he said.  “It will make a very strong statement about the priority Mississippi State has placed on graduate education and graduate students because we’ve built very nice, brand new housing.”
Gerald Emison, vice president of the faculty senate, serves on the master advisory committee. He said the project is important to MSU and needs to be handled well.
“I want to see it done right. I want to create a setting where residents find it appealing,” Emison said.
Ann Bailey, director of Housing & Residence Life, said in an email rebuilding Aiken Village would work toward MSU’s goals of accommodating all students.
“Without Aiken Village, we do not have any other on-campus housing options that would work well for families, graduate students (and) international students,” she said. “In most instances, these students need a living option where they can move in, set up house and stay through the completion of the degree.”
Kibler said the new buildings would be made out of wood-based construction instead of concrete. The old buildings were made of concrete and gave little flexibility to rearrangement.
 
The new Aiken Village needs to be self-sufficient because it is off campus, so it will have its own parking, he said. The new apartments will also have a community center for social activities and a place to put mailboxes. There will also be a nearby bus stop for the MSU shuttle service.
The old Aiken Village’s infrastructure, such as its plumbing, electricity and gas systems, aged over the past 50 years and renovating would cost too much money, Kibler said.
Emison said building a new sprinkler system in the old buildings would have also been too costly.
Kibler said the old Aiken Village is set to be demolished by February 2012. Current residents will be moved out by the end of the semester.
Because the apartments will be new, MSU will have to charge more for rent, he said.
The new apartments are expected to last for 50 years, he said.
Emison said having the buildings open by fall 2013 is highly important. If not, the buildings may have to wait to open until the following semester.
“Everyone is concentrated on getting the building ready for occupancy for August 2013,” he said.
Kibler said MSU officials are hoping to hire a contractor in the spring semester to begin construction of phase one, which should start by late May or June of next year.
He said most graduate students and international students choose to live in Starkville, but for those who do not have transportation and cannot carpool, Aiken Village is a great option.
Most schools around the nation do not offer family-style housing, including the University of Mississippi and the University of Southern Mississippi, but MSU officials want to model itself after those that do, he said.
“The overwhelming majority of campuses that we talked to and went and looked at were bringing down their family housing,” he said. “We did find a couple of notable schools that Mississippi State compares itself to at times, and they are the University of Florida and Texas A&M University.”

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The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University
MSU officials work toward reconstructing Aiken Village