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Progress reported on arts school

Whitworth campus restoration work is progressing and some newconstruction is planned, but more funds are needed to open theMississippi School of the Arts on time, said Dr. Vicki Bodenhammer,executive director.

“It’s going well,” Bodenhammer said about restoration work onJohnson Insitute, Cooper Hall and Enochs Hall. “Windows and doorswill be going in shortly.”

Crews are working on the trussess and decks of Enochs Hall.Also, porch work on the three buildings in continuing.

“They’re working on multiple items in multiple buildings,”Bodenhammer said. “None of them are completed finished, but thethree buildings will have totally new roofs.”

She said the walls, masonry, floor and roof support system arein place for Johnson Institute before a metal roof can beinstalled. The Department of Archives and History must approveplans before windows are put back.

“The windows should be installed any time now,” Bodenhammersaid.

Citizens have noticed a brighter look to the Johnson Institutewalls.

Bodenhammer said that was the result of repointing mortarbetween the bricks and the building will eventually be cleaned andgiven a red wash as it had in the past. Cooper Hall has alreadybeen cleaned, she added.

Architects have submitted contracts for the first phase of theeight-story Student Life Center. The state plans to advertise forbids this month and award a contract in February.

“We expect to break ground by March 1,” Bodenhammer said.

With construction jobs slowing down, Bodenhammer was expecting alot of interest in the project and some competitive bid prices.With a fall 2002 date for opening the school, she said it isimportant to start the new construction that will house residentialstudents.

“The Student Life Center has to start now because it’s an18-month project,” Bodenhammer said.

The fact the legislature gave the go-ahead for the Student LifeCenter was a good sign for the school, Bodenhammer said.

“That’s a strong show of support from the legislative leadershipon the importance of the Mississippi School of the Arts,”Bodenhammer said.

However, additional money to the tune of $6.5 million is neededto be able to open the school in the fall of 2002. Healthycontributions from the private sector could go a long way towardenouraging the state legislature next year to appropriateadditional funds for the school, Bodenhammer said.

Bodenhammer said citizens may contribute to school through fund3202. For information on donating, she can be reached at823-9256.

With a “substantial” contribution, a building could be named fora contributor or a name added to an existing buildng title.Building name changes would require local and private legislationthrough the state legislature.

“We need large sums and small sums,” she said. “We need moneyfor bricks and mortar at this point.”