Co-Lin seeing continued building activity

Published 6:00 pm Friday, September 2, 2011

Ongoing construction will continue atCopiah-Lincoln Community College with one project pushing past itsoriginal completion date and others entering the planningphase.

    Co-Lin President Dr. Ronnie Nettles told the board of trusteesThursday afternoon that, as expected, construction of the new men’sdormitory will not conclude by its original deadline. Heanticipates a late October date before the completed building isturned over to the college.

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    “It was a tight timeline,” Nettles said. “We always planned that itwould not be ready until the spring semester.”

    The contractor Coleman Hammons Construction, of Pearl, originallyfaced a September deadline. Nettles said he was unaware of anyparticular reasons for the delay.

    The exterior of the building is largely finished, but Nettles saidmuch interior work still needs to be done.

    The new dormitory, when completed, will house male honor students.Space will be available for 56 students.

    The new living space will allow Ellzey Hall’s days as a dorm toend.

    Ellzey Hall and other buildings on campus could see a facelift,however. Nettles told the board Thursday five new projects havebegun or are about to begin, some with funds from the Bureau ofBuildings and Grounds.

    The bureau is within the Mississippi Department of Finance and thisyear the bureau had discretionary money to spend on statefacilities.

    Nettles said the bureau identified the roof of the JJ WessonBuilding as among the worst in the state and has thus earmarked$248,000 to replace the roof and remove an exterior screening wall.A contractor has been recommended for the project but not selectedyet.

    Due to Ellzey Hall’s status as a historic building, the bureau hasdesignated $500,000 of its Historic Preservation Discretionaryfunds to aid in the repurposing of that building.

    College officials are unsure what Ellzey Hall will ultimately beused for.

    The bureau has also granted the college, at Nettles’ request,$200,000 to bring campus facilities into compliance withregulations issued by the Office of Civil Rights. Necessary workprimarily includes addressing handicapped access issues, such aswidening doors and stall widths in bathrooms.

    Two other dormitories, Ellis Hall and Copiah Hall, will berenovated with the college’s remaining bond money. The buildingswill remain dormitories, but extensive interior renovations to thebuildings are planned.

    Even as new renovations go on and new buildings go up, Co-Lin’sfall enrollment numbers seem to indicate a small dip, in line withstatewide trends.

    Dr. Jane Hulon, vice president of instructional services, told theboard unaudited enrollment numbers indicate a small enrollmentincrease, approximately 1 percent, across Co-Lin’s Wesson, Natchezand Simpson campuses.

    However, Hulon said class registration statistics indicate theaudited numbers will show a decline.

    “We attribute the drop to the current economic situation,” Hulonsaid. “We are hearing the same from other community colleges.Retention will be our main focus right now.”