A plan for a new East Mississippi Community College nursing school and allied health facility has stalled before takeoff.
In June, the Lowndes County Board of Supervisors agreed to help fund construction of the facility — on donated land near the Golden Triangle Regional Airport — to also include a nursing school, pending participation from four other counties.
But one of the five counties in the EMCC district — Clay, Lowndes, Oktibbeha, Noxubee and Kemper — will not participate in funding the project.
The Clay County Board of Supervisors was the first to commit requested funding — the equivalent of one mill — to the project.
Additionally, EMCC officials had verbal commitments from Noxubee and Kemper counties, but the Oktibbeha County Board of Supervisors did not pass a motion to commit funds.
“We simply don”t have the funds right now,” explained Oktibbeha County Board President John L. Young Sr. “We do support the school plan. We would hope that they would wait, as we suggested to them, until next year”s budget term, when we have our reappraisal.
“We should see some growth in our assessed valuation of our property that will free up some money, so we can contribute to the program,” he continued. “We just don”t feel like this is the right time for us to commit to that project, but we do have every intention of supporting the project in (the 2010) budget year.”
“I appreciate the serious consideration given to EMCC”s request by all the supervisors in our district, especially during difficult economic times,” said EMCC President Dr. Rick Young. “EMCC will renew its request to the counties in our district next year. In the meantime, we”re pursuing other sources of funding.
“But a nursing school is more than the building it”s housed in,” Young added, noting EMCC will accept its first associate-degree nursing students in January and their excitement hasn”t been diminished. “At EMCC, we”re used to doing a lot with a little.”
Planned to be located on five acres on Airport Road, the proposed 50,000-square-foot to 70,000-square-foot facility was expected to meet the needs of industries locating in Lowndes County, as well as attract those considering a location.
The Lowndes supervisors had voted to pay up to $525,000, likely over the next 20 years, to fund the project, which was planned to allow EMCC to handle classes of nearly 100 students.
The facility was projected to cost between $10 million and $20 million.
You can help your community
Quality, in-depth journalism is essential to a healthy community. The Dispatch brings you the most complete reporting and insightful commentary in the Golden Triangle, but we need your help to continue our efforts. Please consider subscribing to our website for only $2.30 per week to help support local journalism and our community.