Board approves expansion plans
The Panola College Board of Trustees met in a special called meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 14, and approved preliminary plans for construction and renovation of campus facilities.
The $35 million bond approved by Panola County voters last year provides for construction of a new Science – Health Science Building and a new Student Life Center. Plans also call for major renovations to the A.J. Johnson Gymnasium, Monk Hall, the Rhea Fine Arts Building and the Fitness Center.
Construction plans call for a new Student Life Center to be constructed adjacent to the existing A.J. Johnson Gymnasium. The current gymnasium will be renovated and upgraded. The new building will house the Student Success Center (admissions, registrar, advising and testing), Student Life, dining hall, snack areas and cafe, ballroom, meeting rooms, College Store, athletics offices, conference rooms and a new Fitness Center. Current racquetball courts will be repurposed for performing arts.
With a new location closer to campus residence halls, the Student Life Center will offer students more community space for study and recreation.
The planned Science – Health Science Building will encompass 64,000 square feet and will house all science and health departments, bringing the nursing, occupational therapy assistant, and health information technology departments back to the main campus. Programs to be housed in the new building include Licensed Vocational and Associate Degree Nursing, the ONE (online education model), Emergency Medical Technician, Medical Laboratory Technician and Medical Assisting. These departments currently occupy a building across West Panola St.
Included in the new Science-Health Building will be laboratories, classrooms, computer labs, instrumentation rooms, research rooms, study space, offices, and conference rooms.
The new Science-Health Building will help the College meet the growing demand in health careers. Currently, limited space and resources mean qualified students face a waiting list for admission into these popular programs.
Additional parking is also planned for the campus renovation.
The construction project may begin this summer, with completion scheduled for July 2015.