BALTIMORE — Morgan State University is set to lease 537 units of student housing in three complexes far outside the university, due to record high enrollment.
The university got permission today to lease units in two Towson apartment complexes (Towson Town Place, and Altus Apartments), and one in Baltimore's Mt. Vernon area (Varsity Midtown).
The Maryland Board of Public Works voted today to approve the leases, which would cost the state at least $10.77 million.
Morgan State University said its enrollment for the fall semester is expected to exceed 8,500 for the first time in history, and the current housing capacity of 2,644 is inadequate.
University president David Wilson told the board today:
We have never seen enrollment like this in our 155-year history. We are defying the national odds, both in terms of new students and returning students.
State comptroller Peter Franchot, who is on the board and gubernatorial candidate, called the leases a "historic" investment in Morgan State University.
The university will be renting 152 units and 50 parking spaces at Altus Apartments in downtown Towson for an annual cost of $1.97 million; 201 units at Towson Town Place apartments at a cost of $2.3 million for the first two years, $2.4 million for the third year and an option of $2.5 million annually for two more years; and 194 units at Varsity Midtown for an annual rent of $1.8 million with annual increases of the higher of 3.95% or Consumer Price Index. (Altus Apartments is already a student-housing complex, for Towson University.)
The university's Office of Residential Life recommended that the housing be "in a location it can control in terms of a safe and healthy college environment."
The university is already adding hundreds of new beds on campus.
Morgan State University is also planning to build a new School of Osteopathic Medicine in 2023, and got approval from the Board of Public Works today to demolish the former Montebello Hospital Complex, a 181,936-square-foot facility on Argonne Drive, in order to build the new school.
Wilson noted to the board that the university soon plans to bring forward its request to take over the former Lake Clifton High School property for a satellite campus, and that the renovated Northwood Commons shopping center will have an official grand opening in the fall.