Jackson State University will enroll students at its new 8,600-square-foot campus in Madison as early as this summer.
The move to expand the historically black university into the predominantly white city of Madison is intended in part to help reach the school’s goal of more diversity among its students.
The state College Board on Thursday approved JSU’s 10-year lease agreement for a space at 382 Galleria Parkway in Madison.
Opening the Madison campus is consistent with JSU’s enrollment management plan, said Eric Stringfellow, JSU communications director. And as a College Board document outlining the lease agreement says, the new campus allows greater potential to increase enrollment of students who are not African American, thus allowing the university to come closer to enrolling 10 percent “other races” to comply with a legal settlement.
The 10-year cost of the lease is approximately $1.5 million, and the agreement grants the university the right to renew it for two more five-year periods at a rate equal to 95 percent of the fair market rent. JSU also will pay the landlord, Sorrento II LLC, 5.9 percent of the facility’s operating costs.
The university’s 10 percent minority status goal is based on the settlement of the Ayers v. Fordice lawsuit, which was filed in 1975 and settled more than a quarter-century years later, in 2002.
Jake Ayers filed the lawsuit on behalf of his son, a JSU student, saying the education received there was inferior to that at historically white universities. An increase in non-black enrollment at Mississippi’s historically black universities is required as part of the settlement to remedy what federal courts found to be basically segregated universities. If the university meets or exceeds the 10 percent “other race” goal in three consecutive years, it can gain control of its part of the Ayers settlement’s $70 million endowment.
Stringfellow said the new campus will focus on serving students who benefit from evening and weekend classes, such as those who also have full- or part-time jobs and are seeking to complete a degree.
“The university is just excited about the opportunity to grow and better serve our community,” Stringfellow said.
The new location will be known as Jackson State University’s Madison Campus.
JSU apparently considered other commercial sites in the north Jackson, Ridgeland and Madison area, but the one at Galleria Parkway was the most cost and space efficient, the College Board document says.
In addition to reaching minority enrollment goals, the Madison site was chosen because of its high visibility near I-55 and because the property is located in what is considered a “growth area.”
Stringfellow said JSU is still working on hammering out many details involving staffing and curriculum. Enrollment at the new campus likely will begin in summer 2013, he said.
“Thursday was just the first step in the process, and now we will start planning for the classes and the offerings and those kind of (details),” Stringfellow said.