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Co-Lin board considers Healthplex

WESSON – Copiah-Lincoln Community College officials hope toreceive funding needed to construct a $10 millionHealthplex/Coliseum facility on the school Wesson campus.

During Thursday’s monthly meeting, members of the Co-Lin Boardof Trustees were engaged and involved while discussing hypotheticalfinancing options, layout, placement and sufficient facilities forathletes.

“Healthplex is a priority,” said Co-Lin President Dr. HowellGarner. “It is definitely a need of the college. If we get moneyfor a coliseum, it would include a healthplex.”

Garner and Co-Lin administrators hope to receive a portion ofbond money typically distributed among community colleges. Garnerbelieves this is a legitimate possibility.

“You need a big facility,” he said. “There is no facility within50 miles that will accommodate the crowd we have forgraduation.”

Garner said that under nice weather conditions, graduation isheld outside. During inclement weather, commencement exercises areheld inside the Co-Lin gymnasium.

Additionally, current exercise facilities open to community,students and faculty are antiquated and cramped.

If Mississippi community colleges receive a bond, possiblybetween $50 and $100 million, Co-Lin’s share would be sufficient tocover a considerable portion of the cost for the Healthplex.Additional funds could be raised through a variety of means.

“We do have other avenues we want to pursue. I can’t discussthose at this point because I wouldn’t want to jeopardize them,”Garner said.

Concerns were addressed that athletic buildings at the communitycollege are insufficient and antiquated. Garner committed tomeeting the needs of the school’s athletic programs but prioritizedconstruction of the Healthplex, noting the wide range of needsspread out among Co-Lin’s three campuses.

“I’m committed to our athletic programs,” Garner said during themeeting. “I’m committed to the Health Sciences/Fine arts buildingin Natchez. I’m concerned about Simpson County campus because Ithink they’re going to grow.”

Garner balanced the many needs of the three campuses butwelcomes feedback from the board..

“I want to get people to express themselves,” Garner said.”That’s the way you develop plans.”