Photo courtesy of: Greg Land

Regents OK negotiations for MSU construction partnership

March 14, 2022

MURRAY, KY – The Murray State University Board of Regents voted at its quarterly meeting Friday to allow the administration to enter into negotiations for hiring a partner to assist with construction of new residence halls and dining facilities.

Murray State President Bob Jackson said the administration and board members began talking in 2019 about a public/private partnership – known as P3 – to share up-front costs and to develop, design, build, finance, operate and maintain student housing and dining facilities. The COVID-19 pandemic delayed getting any projects of the ground for some time, but as the university continued to plan, it put out a request for qualifications (RFQ), and more recently, a request for proposals (RFP). An internal committee of faculty, staff, administrators and others narrowed the submissions down to three, Jackson said.

“What we’re going to ask the board today by motion is to allow us to negotiate with a final firm,” Jackson said. “It will be unnamed, at this time, to allow negotiations, which will be addressed in the next few days, in case there’s some glitch with one of these finalists. I do not anticipate that, however.”

Jackson said the hiring process would be somewhat similar to when the board decided to contract with Sodexo to provide dining services on campus. He said that after negotiations, the administration will bring a preliminary agreement to the June 3 board meeting for approval. The final agreement will not be ready until early fall, he said.

The board received an update on the multi-phase P3 plans from Murray State Vice President of Finance and Administrative Services Jackie Dudley and Brailsford & Dunlavey consultants Jeff Turner and Ryan Jensen, who have assisted with the RFQ and RFP process. The consultants said some of the benefits of a P3 arrangement are to gain the expertise of a partner that has done many similar projects and leveraging a developer’s experience as expert in construction. The costs of projects are also typically because it is more efficient for one developer to manage all the subcontracts and to streamline the procurement process, as well as legal and financial involvements. The consultants said these benefits all prove useful when a university has to replace buildings around 60 years old, for which modernization would be more challenging than demolition and rebuilding.

Dudley said that in addition to negotiating with a developer in the coming weeks, the university also plans to put out an RFP this summer for a 501(c)(3) organization to partner with Murray State and the developer. The first phase of the plan includes replacing Hart Hall with two new residence halls with approximately 300 beds each. The steel-frame buildings will be north of where Hart is now and would be three to four stories tall.

The first phase also includes replacing Winslow Dining Hall. The new dining hall will be constructed on the space currently occupied by Springer II (old Franklin) and Old Richmond Hall, which has already been razed. It will have seating for about 700 people and private dining space for larger events. In addition, it will contain the Housing Office that is currently in Roy Stewart Stadium and the Auxiliary Services Office currently in Hart Hall. Hart Hall and possibly other residence halls and Winslow Dining Hall will be razed for parking replacement, enhanced outdoor living areas, more green space and enhanced walking paths between the residential complex, the Susan E. Baurenfeind Wellness Center and the CFSB Center.

The first phase also includes evaluating the next steps for proceeding with Regents and White halls. While the schedule is preliminary and will depend on variables like negotiations, unknown land conditions, state code approval and inspections, the plan is for all buildings to open by the fall of 2024. The final agreement to be approved by the board in the fall will need to include a land lease by Murray State to its 501(c)(3) partner, the financing plan and occupancy goal, agreement for the ongoing operation and maintenance, terms for the involved organizations’ relationship for up to 40 years or until debt is repaid, the design for rooms and amenities and room rates.

“We are seeking approval for a pre-development agreement, which will still not define the cost itself,” Dudley said. “The cost will not be defined until we get to a final agreement in the fall.”

This is an excerpt from an article originally published by Murray Ledger & Times. Read the full piece here.

"The leadership and information from B&D, and the clarity with which they provide it, brings added credibility to the process and ensures that a range of university stakeholders, including senior leadership and our board, are fully informed for – and confident in – their required decision making.”

B.J. Crain, Former Interim Vice President for Finance and Administration
Texas Woman’s University

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