International Guest House to renovate, add more beds for more students

Published 5:00 pm Tuesday, June 21, 2022

The International Guest House is making plans to renovate its residents’ accommodations and add additional beds to its property.

The Lafayette County Board of Supervisors approved a conditional use permit to expand a facility on property and the county Planning Commission’s recommendation in favor of the final site plan.

According to Director of Development Services Joel Hollowell, the remodeled bar that partly houses the property’s horses and the student accommodations is in need of renovation. IGH currently has five bedrooms for student accommodation but wants to more than double the number of beds.

“They’re wanting to build this new building that will house part of the stalls for the horses, but it would also house an additional seven bedrooms so there will be 12 total bedrooms versus the five that they have now,” said Hollowell. Once the construction of the new building is completed, the old structure will be demolished.

IGH is a non-profit organization founded in 1988 that provides affordable housing to the University of Mississippi’s international students for however long they require. Students pay $350 per month to cover their rent and to help with the organization. IGH also receives financial support from local churches and organizations.

Residents have access to beautiful scenery, a lake, horse-riding, fishing and other outdoor activities. The organization gives students a safe environment to engage in Christian teachings and discussions about the faith and religion.

Manager Bill MacKenzie and his wife Crystal live on the property and have been ministering to international students at Ole Miss for 25 years. 

“We would love for them to learn about the promises of Jesus Christ in a way that is, hopefully, respectful of who they are, but also honest about who he is,” said Bill MacKenzie. “We would like for them to experience the sweet aroma of Christ, as they encounter people living out in a family atmosphere, the life of discipleship and life of following Christ.”

IGH staff are committed to providing their students with a great place to live and learn. They recognized that the student apartments were not up to standard and wanted to provide them with better living areas. 

“It is a barn and we’ve had apartments above it, which has served well for a little while, but are not up to the standard that the students could have if they were living in town,” said MacKenzie. “We would like to be able to provide them more modern apartments and something that is comparable, but also in the same environment.”

IGH is opening its doors to more students, but MacKenzie said they are going to only house a small number of students and limit the number of beds to 12.

“We have activities for large groups, but our primary interest is to have students that live out there, where they’re living together in a relatively good environment, beautiful place and engaging together in conversations,” he said.

To learn more about the International Guest House, visit www.ighministries.org.