Co-Lin Natchez campus looks for expansion funds

Published 12:12 am Monday, October 8, 2007

NATCHEZ — While students at Copiah-Lincoln Community College’s Natchez campus struggle to adapt to their cramped quarters, school administrators wait patiently for funding.

The 850 Co-Lin students are rapidly running out of space. In fact some classes have no space of their own.

“It’s getting to the point of serious,” said Theresa Harrison, Co-Lin’s dean.

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As of now, students in respiratory therapy class share a building with students studying truck driving, welding and heating and air conditioning.

“It’s not a very conducive environment,” Harrison said.

Though school and Adams County officials are committed to new building projects the problem has no quick solution.

Co-Lin’s academic building, funded by a county millage, will not be paid-off for approximately two years.

That same millage would fund a new health-sciences building.

However construction cannot start on a health- sciences building until the academic building is paid for.

For Co-Lin students a new health-science building would be dream come true.

“We talk about it all the time,” said Meghan Austin, a respiratory health student. “We have to walk through another class to get to our room. We don’t even have enough room to sit for lab.”

Their lab also doubles as a second classroom.

Their intensive care simulation room occupies an old storage closet.

“It’s almost too small to use,” said Walt Wilson, a respiratory health instructor.

Walt said that since 1999 over $200,000 worth of equipment has been donated to the program. He has almost no room to store it and can no longer accept donations.

“It’s so noisy all the time,” Wilson said of their neighboring classes.

Wilson said they need a minimum of two classrooms and one storage area to function smoothly.

The addition of a health- sciences building would fulfill Wilson’s needs.

While Adams County is committed to ongoing capitol improvements at Co-Lin, school officials are looking to the future.

Dr. Howell Garner, president of the college, wants a permanent millage set-aside for Co-Lin.

But that won’t happen.

According to Darryl Grennell, president of the Adams County Board of Supervisors, the board will not set aside a permanent millage allocation for Co-Lin.

Grennell did, however, say that Adams County is committed to funding Co-Lin’s future building needs.