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8/16/2006 - Jackson, Miss.

During its regular monthly meeting, the Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning (IHL) met today and approved its priorities for the top facilities needs to be presented during the 2007 Legislative Session. The total list includes 17 prioritized projects, dealing with such issues as mechanical repair, code corrections, land purchases and major building renovations. The top five facilities needs include Americans with Disabilities Act compliance at Jackson State University totaling $6 million; mechanical repairs and a chilled water loop at Delta State University totaling $2.2 million; general repair and renovation at Mississippi University for Women totaling $4 million; a land acquisition at the University of Southern Mississippi totaling $9 million; and a land acquisition at Jackson State University totaling $4 million, among others.

Following an executive session, the Commissioner announced that the Board approved the hiring of Mr. Robert Bass as IHL's Project Director-Gulf Coast operations, a position established to spearhead the changing educational needs of the Mississippi Gulf Coast. Bass currently serves as the State Personnel Director for the Mississippi State Personnel Board in Jackson, where he is responsible for the human resource policy of over 30,000 state government employees. Prior to joining the State Personnel Board, Bass served as Mayor of the City of Long Beach, Mississippi, from 1997 to 2004, where he helped revitalize a spirit of cooperation among city leaders.

"I am confident that the Board's commitment to the educational needs of the Mississippi Gulf Coast will be greatly enhanced by Robert Bass joining the Board Office staff," said Commissioner of Higher Education Dr. Thomas C. Meredith.

In other news, the Board heard a report from State Superintendent of Education Dr. Hank Bounds on the major issues impacting Mississippi's student outcomes, as well as the Mississippi Department of Education's current redesign plans. The Board also thanked Dr. Jason Dean of the Governor's Office for his commitment to Mississippi's system of higher education as Dr. Dean takes a new post as a White House Fellow.

The next regular meeting of the Board will be held Wednesday, September 20, following the FY2008 Joint Legislative Budget Committee hearing. The Board will also hold its annual retreat Thursday and Friday, September 21 and 22. Further details on all meetings will be issued as schedules are confirmed.

Under the leadership of the Board of Trustees, IHL governs the public universities in Mississippi, including Alcorn State University; Delta State University; Jackson State University; Mississippi State University including the Mississippi State University Division of Agriculture, Forestry and Veterinary Medicine; Mississippi University for Women; Mississippi Valley State University; the University of Mississippi including the University of Mississippi Medical Center; and the University of Southern Mississippi.


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