It is not a widely known fact that Panola College has land available for its students, faculty, and town members. Just across from the college on the right side of Pippen Motor Company, the college owns 103 acres. The school has owned the land since the late 1990’s from the combination of a purchase and a gift.
“There were master design plans to construct athletic fields and several facilities on the land, including a fitness center,” said Dr. Gregory Powell, Panola College President, . However, due to safety issues concerning students crossing West Panola Street, construction plans shifted towards the main campus. The rodeo barn and practice arena are currently the only campus facility on the land. The college has no immediate plans for construction involving the land, nor plans of selling the land. Dr. Powell says that the school’s “principal focus” now is the bond election in May, which will ask for the construction of new buildings and renovations for some of the current building/facilities on the main campus.
The land offers the school several benefits, such as educational, recreational, and even financial. “We have twice cut timber, which has brought revenue to the college,” Dr. Powell said. Teachers from the biology department incorporate the land into their lessons, and have been known to take students there on field assignments.
“It is a valuable learning tool for my students,” biology professor Becky Gullette said. Members of the community use the area to walk their dogs, ride bicycles, and take nature hikes. In addition, Boy Scouts groups have even used the land for educational purposes.
“It is a beautiful and unique area to have right in the middle of a town,” Gullette said. “A number of cities would love to have access to such property.”
Directions to trails: Turn into the driveway next to Pippen Motor Company on the right side, veer right at the fork, continue until you come to an open field (dead end). The trails will be located on your left.