New Attala Educational Center is making strides

A project to bring a full campus of Holmes Community College to Kosciusko is moving forward, according to HCC President Glenn Boyce.

Speaking at a luncheon hosted by the college last week in Kosciusko, Boyce updated area leaders on the project and shared his vision for what programs may be included at the Attala County campus.

“I’m excited about this project, because I’m excited about the support we are always given here in Attala County and Kosciusko. The support we receive from this community is amazing,” Boyce said.

Boyce credited the Attala County Board of Supervisors with the initial idea to build a campus in the area.

“They had the vision and came to me and said they wanted to have this over here,” Boyce said. “There aren’t too many supervisors that come to me and offer to give me money. They really had a great vision for what this could become.”

The campus is expected to open in the fall of 2014.

“This doesn’t happen overnight,” Boyce said. “This is something that is going to be here forever. We hope it is going to grow and grow and grow. What it looks like when we walk in the first time and are opening doors and what it looks like a year from then and two years from then could be real different. I'm laying out a vision for through the years.”

Boyce confirmed the facility would include classrooms and nursing labs, a media center, a board meeting room (which could hold 10 to 12 people), computer labs, an entrepreneurial center with several incubators, a workforce training space and a community meeting room (with a capacity of 175).

“I want that community room to be used by the community,” Boyce said. “I could see us bringing in some major speakers and having a speaker night. We will have some musical performances in there also, but we are a little limited in what we can do in that space because the ceilings are so low.”

When discussing possible programs for the campus, Boyce said the GED program and several medical programs would be included. He also mentioned welding, industrial maintenance, truck driver training and a handy man academy as workforce training programs.

Boyce said an offshore training program is possible for the location.
“It is my understanding that in this whole region there are a lot of people who work offshore,” he said. “I’d like to work with a company to do offshore training. I’m excited where that might could take us.”

A satellite classroom will be featured in the facility, and Boyce said he is hopeful that could be utilized with a partnership with Mississippi State University.

“I’m going to approach them about the possibility of offering classes similar to our set up in Grenada with Ole Miss,” Boyce said. “They are sending class after class through that satellite system.”

Holmes crews are currently working at the former Old Milwaukee Tool facility on West Jefferson Street in Kosciusko, which will be the location of the campus.

“We are making a significant in-kind investment as well,” Boyce said. “We are working hard to get it ready as soon as we can. Our goal is to open in August. We will be in by the fall for sure, and we will be full force by January of 2015.”

Special to Holmes Community College by James Phillips, Star-Herald