Nettles pitches Co-Lin campus needs

Published 6:00 pm Sunday, August 8, 2010

A group of legislators who visited Copiah-Lincoln CommunityCollege saw a little bit of what the school has been working on -as well as what it’s asking for – since President Ronnie Nettlestook the reins.

The Facilities Management Advisory Committee for the Bureau ofBuildings, Grounds and Real Property included District 36 Sen.Albert Butler and Dist. 39 Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith, as well as Dist.31 Sen. Terry Burton and Dist. 8 Sen. Jack Gordon. The tour alsoincluded Bureau of Buildings and Grounds Director Rick Snowden andAssistant Director Glen Kornbrek.

Nettles said the group had been there about two years ago when hehad just taken over as president of the college. At the time, hewasn’t sure what he needed to show them, he said.

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But this time he was ready for them.

“The biggest difference was that the last time I wasn’t specific,”he said. “This time when we had our assessment done, we weredealing with real figures and we were able to say what needs tohappen in those projects.”

Snowden said Nettles was clear and concise on what the schoolneeds, and gave not only the bureau members, but the advisorycommittee members something to think about.

“He is dead-on with his strategy, he’s doing a good job,” Snowdensaid. “And he’s right that it’s a better use of state funds torepair buildings we already have as opposed to building new onesevery time we wear one out.”

Nettles gave a presentation that showed projects the school hadundertaken on the buildings and grounds, explaining that much ofthe money put into physical structures has been roof work.

“We have used a lot of funds to keep us dry,” he said. “We’ve donea lot of roofs.”

In the future, he said, the school is looking for funds forcontinuing dorm repair and renovations, as well as updated careertech buildings, a new men’s dormitory to replace the worn-downEllzey Hall, and a Student Success Center.

But, he pointed out to the group, the school is also taking greatstrides to update its aesthetic value in other ways, pointing out anew golf pro shop funded by the Co-Lin Foundation, as well aslandscaping and banners all across campus.

“I believe if people feel proud, they tend to take care of things alittle better,” he said.

But something’s working right, he said, as not only do dormitorieshave waiting lists, but most of the career technical courses dotoo.

“We’ve talked about capacity for years, but we’re really reachingproblems with availability of classrooms and teachers,” he said.”We’re starting to feel the pressure of what we’re going to do inthe future.”

Snowden said the next step, once the bureau does its report, is forthe Legislature to take a look at the numbers.

“The community colleges around the state are in critical need ofdorms,” he said. “Enrollment is exploding everywhere with the badeconomy.”