USM looks past building rent controversy - WDAM-TV 7-News, Weather, Sports-Hattiesburg, MS

USM looks past building rent controversy

HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - USM officials say tax payers should be disappointed with the agreement between Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College and the University of South Alabama.

GCCC and USA have agreed on a three year plan to allow USA to rent space in a building that Southern Miss has rented for some time. USM no longer rents the building because of budget cuts. 

South Alabama will only pay for renovations and maintenance for the first year, but will not pay rent until the following two years.

The agreement came into question by several state leaders, because public buildings cannot be rented for free.

Gulf Coast Community College president Willis Lott said South Alabama will be charged on the same price per square foot as USM. Southern Miss officials said Gulf Coast Community College should not have offered such a deal to South Alabama.

"The tax payers of Jackson County, who built that facility originally and the tax payers of Mississippi, should be a bit disheartened that a public community college in Mississippi would offer and out of state institution a facility for free the first year that they have charged us for a number of years," said Dr. Joe Paul, USM's Vice President of Student Affairs.

Paul also said USM has a strong relationship with the community college and that a lot of the school's population attends Southern Miss.

Copyright 2009 WDAM. All rights reserved.

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