NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Tennessee State University received a historic $250 million from the state legislature last April, but the money cannot be used to address every issue on campus.
TSU announced Monday it plans to spend the $250 million upgrading and renovating academic buildings, starting out with McCord Hall, Jackson Hall, Harold Love, Boswell, Davis Humanities, and Elliot Hall.
Dozens of repairs will be made to each building, including replacing windows, repairing burst pipes, and switching out HVAC units, which leaders said they have never been able to afford before.
“You hear the students say x, y, and z, but they don’t understand a, b, and c because we haven’t been able to fund (to fix) these problems,” Curtis Johnson, the chief of staff at TSU said.
Students told reporters at Monday’s press conference the announcement couldn’t have come on a better day – Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
“As we all know, MLK did have a dream, and today I do believe in his dream he had Tennessee State University in mind, and today we’re seeing that dream come to fruition,” Kenneth Rolle II, president of the TSU student government association said.
Others added the repairs will allow them to better show off their university to prospective students.
“That is something that is seen when students are given tours, and that’s an important aspect, because if you look at a building and you’re like, ‘Ugh the blinds,’ you’re like, ‘Do I really want to go here?'” Aliyah Holmes, executive vice president of the student government association said.
The repairs will likely draw more students to TSU, however, the university doesn’t have enough dorms to house its current students. The money from the state cannot legally be used to add more on-campus housing, which some might consider the main problem at the university.
Hundreds of TSU students who did not receive on campus housing have had to be housed in hotels off campus due to the increase in enrollment and a historically large freshman class, according to the university.
TSU is working to add 1,000 additional beds on campus by building a new dorm, however, that project has yet to be approved.
The university said it has no timeline on when the academic buildings’ repairs will be complete, and there will be additional buildings added to the list. Renovations have already begun to certain buildings.