BALTIMORE – During the public session of its FY 2019–2020 first quarter meeting, Morgan State University Board of Regents approved a plan for the University to enter into an agreement with the Maryland Economic Development Corporation (MEDCO) as part of an effort to add new student housing on-campus. The unanimous approval allows the University to address the critical need for increased student residential facilities by adding between 700 and 900 new beds to accommodate Morgan’s growing new and returning student population. Once the agreement is finalized, MEDCO will collaborate with the University to begin design and construction of an innovative, apartment-style residence facility to be located on Morgan’s South Campus, adjacent to the site of the Thurgood Marshall Apartment Complex. The projected completion date for the new construction is fall 2022.
“Morgan is growing, and with the continued increase of new enrollment coupled with the University’s high retention rate, the need for more student housing on campus has never been greater,” said David Wilson, president of Morgan State University. “The Board’s recognition of the challenges the University faces in meeting the needs of our students, and their support to take bold action now, will benefit scores of future scholars seeking a complete college experience in a contemporary campus environment and choose to pursue their educational aspirations at Morgan.”
The University evaluated a number of options to build new housing on its campus. From that evaluation it was determined that Morgan would need to align with a proven partner with a track record of being able to successfully work with public institutions to build residential student housing. Partnering with MEDCO, with its history of collaborating with Maryland-based universities and colleges, was the best viable option.
“We made the decision to partner with MEDCO on this student housing project to take advantage of their proven expertise and experience in producing a high-quality facility that meets the needs of our students,” said Sidney Evans, Morgan’s vice president for Finance and Management.
The agreement, when finalized, will mark the second such collaboration with MEDCO on a residential housing project. The first resulted in the construction of the off-campus Morgan View apartment complex. With the Morgan View project, MEDCO assumed ownership of the off-campus residence as well as the responsibility for financing, developing and managing the facility.
Under the proposed terms of the agreement for the new on-campus residence, Morgan has the option to have MEDCO retain and oversee a third-party management company to carry out the day-to-day operations, while closely working with the University to ensure project success. MEDCO’s operational oversight would potentially include monitoring occupancy and facilitating leasing agreements, evaluating the marketing strategy and reviewing and developing operating budgets, among other things. MEDCO has similar agreements with a number of other Maryland-based higher education institutions besides Morgan, including Bowie State University; the University of Maryland, College Park; Frostburg State University; Towson University and UMBC.
“The addition of a new apartment-type housing facility at Morgan is long overdue,” said Kevin Banks, Ph.D., vice president for Student Affairs at Morgan. “This new construction will go a long way in helping us address the growing demand for on-campus housing for our students and providing contemporary amenities that will enhance the living-learning experience.”
Once the new residence is completed and ready for occupancy, the University will begin plans for the demolition of the aging Thurgood Marshall Apartment Complex. The space where the complex once stood will be converted to green space for all of the campus community to enjoy.
Morgan State University, founded in 1867, is a Carnegie-classified doctoral research institution offering more than 125 academic programs leading to degrees from the baccalaureate to the doctorate. As Maryland’s Preeminent Public Urban Research University, Morgan serves a multiethnic and multiracial student body and seeks to ensure that the doors of higher education are opened as wide as possible to as many as possible. For more information about Morgan State University, visit www.morgan.edu.