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College Board Approves The Mill At MSU Development

MISSISSIPPI STATE, Miss., Oct. 18, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Mississippi Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning on Thursday ( Oct. 17) approved a series of interrelated agreements that finalize plans for The Mill development, according to Mississippi State University President Mark E. Keenum.

"We have refused to settle for anything that did not meet our highest expectations--logistically, aesthetically or financially," said Keenum. "And we are confident that we have it right and we're grateful that the state College Board shares our vision."

The project will bring a conference center, hotel and parking garage complex centered around MSU's historic E.E. Cooley Building. The Mill development includes three main projects: transforming the landmark former cotton mill into a conference center with adjacent office space, building an adjacent hotel and developing mixed-use business parcels in the land adjacent to the university's old physical plant.

Plans call for MSU to sell some property to the developer to become the site of a Marriott Courtyard Hotel and one or more restaurants, lease the Cooley Building to the developer to be renovated as a conference center, and for MSU to lease back some office space in the building for university use.

MSU's Facilities Management staff is already moving out of the Cooley Building, which has been their base of operations for many years. The division will be housed in various temporary locations until a replacement facility can be built on Buckner Lane, near existing services such as landscaping and transportation - actions which the College Board also approved.

Keenum said: " Mississippi State has needed a conference center capable of accommodating large academic and professional meetings for many years. The university also needs a more dynamic gateway directly across the street from this main entrance to campus, where we adjoin the city of Starkville.

"The project as a whole will be a boon to our ability to attract important academic conferences and visitors, provide much needed office space, and make us more appealing to prospective students and faculty members," said Keenum. "It will also create closer town-gown relations and give an economic boost to the area. And it will preserve and protect one of the oldest and most historic buildings on our campus.

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