Funds boost St. Ambrose

Published 6:00 am Tuesday, April 1, 2003

WESSON — A $1 million state appropriation will allow supportersto take the next step toward opening a leadership school for malehigh school graduates, said Mayor Bill Tigner.

The money for the Saint Ambrose Leadership College was includedin a bond bill for the Department of Archives and History passed bythe state legislature. The college will be located in the OldWesson School building.

“We worked hard to get that money, and everybody knows how toughit was to get anything out of the legislature this year,” Tignersaid while expressing appreciation to House and Senate leadershipfor their support. “We are really pleased.”

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With the state funding, Tigner said supporters can determinewhere they are in the development process.

Tigner said plans are to start renovations of the Old WessonSchool building with a previous $620,000 grant from archives andhistory and the Mississippi Development Authority. The mayor saidthe leadership college officials are also expecting $90,000 fromthe Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

“Our goal is to get the Old Wesson School in a condition that wecan receive the first class,” Tigner said.

The first year of classes, which will include up to 50 collegefreshmen attending nearby Copiah-Lincoln Community College, isexpected to be in 2004 or 2005. Through private donations, Tignersaid funding for first year operations has already beensecured.

The original plans called for up to 25 students who would attendthe school on scholarships. However, Tigner said that number wasdoubled after parents indicated they would pay for their childrento attend.

Tigner said the school grounds will be like a small campus. Anyleftover funding from the renovation would be used to construct adormitory.

Tigner was proud of supporters’ efforts to generate over $1.7million since the Saint Ambrose idea was formulated about a yearand a half ago.

“It’s absolutely incredible we raised $1.7 million for theschool,” he said. “That doesn’t include the money foroperations.”