"We've had pretty flat revenue for about the past five or six years, so anything like this is definitely beneficial toward the city," Manilla said. "Whether it's for infrastructure, for public safety, it definitely helps."
The WVU Board of Governors voted Tuesday to approve borrowing up to $15 million via the sale of revenue bonds to purchase Sunnyside property. The board did not discuss the measure in open session and adjourned directly after the vote.
WVU officials have declined to provide any further information about the deal.
The university has spent more than $20 million to acquire land and rental property near campus.
More student housing is a key portion of WVU's 2020 strategic plan. In September the board of governors passed a 2012 master housing plan: the plan calls for an increase in student beds from the current 6,062 to 7,620 over the next 10 years.
Almost 1,000 beds in the downtown area are expected by 2014 through "public/private partnership," according to the plan. The document WVU submitted to the Legislature calls for the housing and amenities to be ready by fall 2014. It is the only source of increased beds for 2014, according to the report.
University spokesman John Bolt said he was not sure if the purchase approved by the board would account for all of those beds.
The 979 more beds anticipated for 2014 will come in the form of "apartment" and "family housing" accommodations, according to the report. Apartment housing, intended for upperclassmen and graduate students, will increase from 1,09 beds in 2013 to 1,970 beds in 2014. Family housing - intended for faculty, staff or students with children - will increase from 40 beds to 146 beds, according to the report.
The report states several reasons why WVU wants more housing. It will help retain younger students and better accommodate the 32,000 students it anticipates serving by 2020.
It could also cut down on behavior issues, something Manilla and other officials believe could come as a result of new housing in Sunnyside.
"Parents are demanding more student housing that is controlled and managed by the University," the report states. "Mainly, due to concerns about supervision and safety."
The document WVU submitted to the Legislature said the sale of the property would be finalized today, as long as all required approval is received.