The Village Apartments at Ole Miss, which houses families, graduate students and student housing staff on campus, is set to close in August.
According to Jennifer McClure, assistant director of marketing for Ole Miss student housing, the university has been in discussion for several months about the future of the apartments.
“There is just not enough quality of life left in the buildings to continue to maintain them beyond August 2016 as residential facilities,” McClure said. “The units have far exceeded the life expectancy of the 1940’s construction.”
The apartments sit on Chucky Mullins Drive and West Road near the law school. Multiple apartments from The Village were torn down to open the new law school in 2011, and just six apartment buildings remain on campus.
“At this time, the plan is to return control of these properties to university administration,” McClure said.
A Look Back
Dr. Ed Meek, former assistance vice chancellor of public relations at Ole Miss and the Meek School of Journalism and New Media namesake, started his marriage and career while living at The Village.
“After Becky (wife and Ole Miss alumna) and I got married, we headed to Oxford in an old 1949 Plymouth,” Meek said. “We spent our honeymoon in those apartments because I had an 8 o’clock final exam the next day on June 25.”
According to Meek, he and his wife paid $47.50 a month for their fully furnished apartment in 1960. The Village had one and two bedroom apartments available for married students.
“They were a God-send,” Meek said. “We were living off $5 a week- that’s how much I made.”
While living on campus and studying for his Bachelor of Science in Journalism, Meek covered the arrival of James Meredith, the first African American student to attend the university.
Recently, Meek wrote a book about this particular experience. “Riot: A Witness to Anger and Change” is a book of Meek’s photos he took of the actual 1962 riot that took place on campus as Meredith enrolled into classes. Proceeds from the book benefit the Meek School of Journalism and New Media and it can be purchased from the Yoknapatawpha Press.
Meek said most of the other tenants that lived at The Village during his residency were law students who became notable attorneys such as Oscar Jordan, an attorney on the Mississippi gulf coast, and Punchy Walters.
Today, the apartments seem to assist many foreign families looking for affordable housing in Oxford.
“They (the apartments) were so important to my generation,” Meek said. “There were no apartments (in Oxford). Housing as we know it today did not exist.”
According to McClure, there are no plans for new construction to replace The Village.
“University administration will determine how those buildings will be used in the future,” McClure said.
Emily Newton is a staff writer for hottytoddy.com and the editor of Experience Oxford magazine. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org!