Ole Miss looks ahead

OXFORD – The University of Mississippi is already planning its second residential college, even as its first is nearing completion.
The state College Board approved the second building in March.
The $33 million estimated cost for the second unit will be covered largely with bonds to be repaid by students’ housing payments.
The rest will be paid through a $4 million gift whose donor organization has yet to be identified.
The first residential college is slated to open this fall, with the second in August 2010.
“It’s an aggressive schedule,” said Ian Banner, university architect and director of facilities planning. “One of the reasons we’re pushing so quickly on it is that, while we’re all feeling the pinch from the economy, it’s actually a good time to get very competitive prices right now.”
The first residential college, a four-story red-brick square sitting north of the current law school, is essentially complete on the outside but for some faampçade work and landscaping.
The second building is identical except that it has three stories, accommodating 320-340 students, while the first holds 466.
Students at the residential colleges will have private or semi-private rooms, and they will regularly dine together.
Also, each college will have a fitness center, library, teaching kitchen, computer center, music room, study rooms, classrooms and theater facilities that can accommodate student productions, visiting lecturers and other events.
“The philosophy is to create a more enriched academic environment for students to experience,” said Senior Fellow Daniel O’Sullivan, an associate professor of French.
He will live in the first residential college with his wife and their 9- and 10-year-old children, interacting constantly with students.
“It’s actually a very old concept,” O’Sullivan said. “This goes back to the Oxfords, the Yales, the Harvards, and now it’s being rediscovered by universities all over the nation.”
Contact Errol Castens at (662) 281-1069 or errol.castens@djournal.com.

Errol Castens/Daily Journal