USDA Loan Backs Campus Housing Projects

This past summer, Emory & Henry College announced that a new housing project would be coming to E&H in Fall 2016. Is that the only new project coming to E&H over the next few years, or is there a possibility of more?
The project announcement on the E&H website said that these construction plans call for the construction of six townhouse-style buildings and two resident halls, which will be made in the fashion of the existing Cambridge and Prillaman Halls.

Some might be wondering where the money for these construction projects came from, and how the school is able to afford the project. That answer can be found from financial records of this past fall.

During the fall of 2016, E&H received a $51 million loan with a low-interest rate of 4.6 percent. The loan is a third-party loan from the United States Department of Agriculture Rural Development. The loan came from Virginia’s Ninth District Congressman and former E&H graduate, Morgan Griffith, according to WJHL.
According to an SGA member who wished to remain anonymous, the loan is not solely the credit of Congressmen Griffith. It was done through a rural development program.

According to President Schrum, the money from the USDA-affiliated loan will be used to help with spending costs for the housing project that has already started. It is also going to help “bring E&H into a true 21st-century living and learning environment,” explained Schrum.

Even though the loan received by the school totals to $51 million, the new housing project that began construction in the fall has only cost the school $12.5 million. The question remains, what will the school do with the leftover $38.5 million?

Because so many dorms on Emory & Henry’s campus were built in the 1900’s, there are many dorms that are in need of renovation. Carriger, Matthews and Wiley Jackson Hall were all built in the early and mid-1900s, and none of these dorms have seen much renovation since that time.

Carriger and Matthews are also some of the few residence halls on campus that do not have built-in air conditioning in dorm rooms. With dorms like these in dire need of renovation, Director of Housing Lacey Southwick talked about the current project and the future of the housing construction.

“As enrollment numbers continue to increase, we hope that we are able to offer more housing options for students that meet the demand,” Southwick said. “Our hope is that once this project is complete, we will be able to take Wiley Jackson offline to give it some much-needed renovations. And so forth, as we are able we will renovate other halls as time and funding allows.”

It seems that E&H is in the beginning stages of one of the biggest housing projects to ever come to the school.

– Andrew McClung

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