The university still must solicit competitive bids for any construction and other fees accrued during the project, the report states. Jones said all contracts related to the project would go through a competitive bidding process.
Mantra will own the facility, but it will operate like any other on-campus housing once it's open, Jones said. Rent proceeds will be split between State and Mantra, but Jones said they have not determined what percentage each party will receive.
After 30 years, ownership passes to State, Jones said.
New housing should help entice more students to enroll, Jones and Hemphill said. Like institutions of higher education across the country, state does not have the capital on hand to complete such a project, Hemphill said.
"This is a game-changer for this university to be able to find a partner that will bring resources to the table and develop a longtime partnership that will benefit our students and our state," Hemphill said.
After wading through debt problems in recent years, State's finances have taken a turn for the better in the past few months.
Facing a $3.5 million deficit two years ago, State ended the last fiscal year with a $200,000 surplus. After incorporating a 3.5 percent reduction into its current budget, Hemphill called for an additional 4 percent cut after assuming his position in July.
Jones and Hemphill believe the hiring freeze and other belt-tightening measures will result in close to a $720,000 surplus at the end of the fiscal year. About $120,000 has been pumped back into marketing and branding, Hemphill said.
The university also has received about $1.5 million in donations since the start of the fiscal year.
"All in all, when you look at the finances of the institution to date, we are in very good shape," Jones told the board.
State plans to pick an architect by December and break ground by June 2013. The project should be completed and ready for students by fall of 2014.