Building project benefits entire community

Published 12:00 am Sunday, June 14, 2009

NATCHEZ — Local officials are sure growth at Co-Lin is growth for the entire community.

The new health sciences building will allow the school to relocate and expand its health services program, which has recently been housed in crapped building.

Natchez-Adams Economic Development Chairman Woody Allen said as Co-Lin expands, so to will the community around it.

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“When the school is able to expand they’re able to accommodate more students and those students create a need for more programs in the school, and the school is creating a well-trained work force in our community,” Allen said. “It all feeds on itself and works to the benefit of the community.”

And Adams County officials have not missed the importance of helping that cycle along by providing funding to Co-Lin’s Natchez campus.

In 2007, the Adams County Board of Supervisors voted to reallocate a millage that was set to expire at the school so that the college could fund the new construction.

That decision will funnel approximately $370,000 a year to the school.

“It was very important that we keep (the millage) going,” Supervisor Thomas “Boo” Campbell said. “It’s instrumental for the growth of the community. When the school is growing, the community is growing. But they can’t do anything without funding.

Natchez Mayor Jake Middleton said having an expanding school in Natchez is also a benefit to one very important group — the students.

A growing school affords students a chance to access a wider curriculum right in their hometown, he said.

“If there’s a student that’s working their way thorough school and they can stay here, instead of commuting, it’s a tremendous advantage for them,” Middleton said.

Alcorn University’s Special Assistant to the President Ruth Nichols said the expansion at Co-Lin can provide a critical link in continued education in Natchez.

Nichols said the expansion has the capability to create an opportunity for students with an interest in health care to finish high school, locally, get a two-year degree from Co-Lin and then continue their education at Alcorn, all without leaving their community.

“It’s a real plus for potential students,” Nichols said. “They can start and finish their education all in one area.”

Current plans call for the building to be in use by 2011.