MC

Mississippi College

Summer 2012 Construction Boom Enhances Mississippi College

June 11, 2012

Construction cranes and workers in hard hats are a big part of the summer landscape at Mississippi College, with a new bookstore, science lab and a parking garage all part of the building boom.

MC family members and visitors are noticing the progress on the Clinton campus as June turns to July. The improvements will also be welcome news for thousands of students returning for fall classes in late August.

The 20,000-square-foot medical sciences complex, including a cadaver lab, lecture hall, and additional research space, “is an absolute Godsend for our program,” says professor Ted Snazelle. A Clinton resident who’s taught biological sciences at Mississippi College the past 33 years, he says MC’s new facilities will be “second to none.”

It’s early June, but Snazelle is already looking forward to late fall when faculty and staff will have access to the new building. Students should begin taking classes in the new facility in the spring of 2013.

Adjacent to the Hederman Science building, the new complex gives much more space to a program that’s bursting at the seams with students. It should put the Baptist-affiliated school on a par with innovative facilities offered at a number of medical schools.

That can only help boost recruiting of students at the graduate and undergraduate levels, Snazelle says.

Created in 2005, MC’s master of medical sciences program presently enrolls more than 200 graduate students from 130 colleges and universities across the USA and Canada. The program on the Clinton campus prepares them for medical and dental schools all over the nation.

At a series of orientation sessions beginning in mid-June and extending through August, admissions director Kyle Brantley says members of his team are delighted to plug the construction initiatives.

“Our office is truly ecstatic about the new facilities coming this fall,” Brantley said. “Not only are we excited as recruiters to be able to market these new complexes, but we are also proud as Choctaw alumni that our campus is making such strides.”

All the construction is a sign of the times that Mississippi College has experienced a growth spurt for the last decade. There were 3,300 students when President Lee Royce arrived as the university’s leader in July 2002, and last fall that number climbed to nearly 5,300 students.

The construction “makes it very clear that Mississippi College has experienced unprecedented growth in student enrollment in recent years,” says Ron Howard, vice president for academic affairs. At the same time, MC is “strengthening and advancing the quality of its academic programs.”

Mississippi College is also trying to make progress when it comes to increasing its parking spaces for faculty, staff, students and visitors. Work on a new three-story parking garage began in early May and should be completed by mid-August.

Producing spots for 557 vehicles, the garage is being built on an existing lot just west of the A.E. Wood Coliseum and south of the Robinson-Hale Stadium. Due to its location on a current lot, the parking garage will generate an additional 366 spaces. The garage will be equipped with security cameras, lighting and emergency telephones and remain open on a 24/7 basis.

Next-door to Olde Towne Clinton at the corner of Jefferson and Madison streets, the rapid rise of the bookstore and 10 upstairs lofts for graduate students is eye appealing.

The construction work is taking place on the site that once belonged to the Department of Interior Design. The building was demolished after the department relocated to Farr Hall. Operated by the Follett Corporation, the present bookstore in Alumni Hall will be reconverted to create more “hangout space” for students.

The new bookstore and science building are among the timely projects that “will make a difference,” says MC senior Fred Perry, 21, a business administration major from Atlanta.

While the current building projects don’t match the major construction boom for MC in 1995-96 including the launch of new dormitories, “this is pretty big,” Snazelle says.

Work on major facilities is occurring in other locations on the Clinton campus this summer, including renovations of the B.C. Rogers Student Center.