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New turf in the works for Stone Stadium

The football field at Copiah-Lincoln Community College’s Stone Stadium may soon get synthetic turf for the Wolves to prowl.

The college’s board of trustees approved a plan recently to request proposals to install the artificial grass.

Co-Lin President Ronnie Nettles said replacing the field would improve safety for players after one board member questioned the importance of a new field.

“I think this past three weeks is probably the best example of why we need to do something,” he said. “We spent the last three weeks in constant rain every afternoon.”

Nettles said the current design for the field at Stone Stadium was also an older design that doesn’t hold up to the quality expected of a college field today.

Nettles said in his discussions with businesses he’s heard estimates ranging up to $1 million, but he does not expect the cost to be a burden on the school’s budget.

“We did not spend a lot in capital improvement funds last year, so we have funds available,” he said.

Nettles said sponsorships with local businesses are also a possible way to help pay for the new turf.

“We would have all that information before we accept any bids,” he said. “We would know exactly who those people are and what they might bring forward.”

Enrollment

Enrollment numbers are down slightly from last fall, according to a preliminary report by board member Tammy Fairburn.

There are 3,076 students enrolled for the fall semester, 74 less than the 3,150 enrolled in the fall of 2015, but up 36 from the 3,040 enrolled in the fall of 2014.

Board member Roy Winkworth pointed out at the meeting that state funding is determined by full-time equivalent numbers, not enrollment. The full-time equivalent for fall 2016 is 3,329, 37 less than the 3,366 reported last year. Fairburn noted that enrollment numbers would change right up until the end of the semester.

“The college will continue to stress retention of our students,  faculty and staff,” Fairburn said. “We need each one of these students to stay enrolled and work toward completion.”

In other business:

• August was the first month of Co-Lin’s 2016-17 fiscal year. According to an Aug. 31 report, the school’s total revenues are $10.39 million and total expenditures are $7.47 million. Vice President of Business Affairs Stan Patrick said the school received about $300,000 more in total revenues than it did during the same period last year.

• The Aug. 31 balance sheet reports $60.39 million in total assets and $40.47 in total liabilities.

• The resignation of Natchez campus Automation and Controls Instructor Megan Simmons was approved, effective Sept. 19.

• A ribbon cutting will be held for the newly-constructed pedestrian corridor on Oct. 6 at 2:30 p.m.

• Bid dates for the new women’s dormitory at the Wesson campus were tentatively scheduled for September.

• The Student Government Association sponsored multiple back to school events the first week of school, despite poor weather.

• Dean Brenda Smith provided training and brochures to prevent and address sexual harassment, sexual violence, domestic violence and stalking to students and faculty.

• Co-Lin received the Wesson Garden Club’s “Yard of the Month” award for August.