COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) – The University of Missouri is increasing to seven the number of residence halls that aren’t expected to open in the fall and laying off some employees amid an enrollment decline and reduced state funding.

The latest three residence halls to be taken temporarily offline are Center, Responsibility and Discovery halls, University of Missouri spokesman Christian Basi said. The university previously announced that Respect, Excellence, Schurz and McDavid wouldn’t operate in the fall unless there is sufficient demand to reopen some of them.

Combined the seven halls are capable of housing about 1,500 students. Excellence didn’t operate this year, along with two other halls that are being demolished to make way for new halls. One of the new halls opened last fall, and another is opening this fall.

The closures are estimated to save about $2 million, largely through reduced utility costs, Basi said. He added that it is possible that two of the closed halls could get some use as guest and conference housing.

The temporarily closures come freshman enrollment for this academic year dropped by 1,470 students, or 24 percent. Fall enrollment information isn’t yet available.

Amid the enrollment drip, the university is planning for reduced funding. This week, the Division of Operations, which includes maintenance, policing and transportation, announced 20 layoffs. Other divisions will be leaving positions unfilled, and additional expenses are being examined, Basi said.

(Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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