Hinds Community College to construct $13M academic/tech facility at Vicksburg campus
Hinds Community College’s Vicksburg-Warren Campus moved into the future Wednesday with groundbreaking ceremonies marking the start of construction for a new $13 million academic and career-technical building. About 125 people, including college and local officials, attended the ceremony for the new building, which will house classrooms and laboratories for academic and career technical programs and the Vicksburg Warren School District’s River City Early College, where high school students can earn college credit along with their high school diploma.
Vicksburg-Warren County Campus Vice President Marvin Moak said the new building is the first new construction on the campus in 25 years.
“It is a great day for us to be here,” Hinds President Dr. Clyde Muse said. “This provides an opportunity here for us to really improve the quality of life for people in Vicksburg and Warren County. It also provides an opportunity to provide a way in which our people can train and get better jobs.”
Muse said many people in Vicksburg and Warren County lack some of the necessary skills to get good jobs. The new building, he said, will provide an opportunity for them the get the necessary training.
“It also will provide an opportunity to begin to blur the line between college and high school with the early college high school being in this facility,” he said. “It’s going to be something that will really help this community grow and develop and provide the skills necessary for a good high paying job.”
Vicksburg Warren School District Superintendent Chad Shealy said the project will forever change the face of the Vicksburg community.
“And when I say the community, this is not about these students (pointing River City College students and career technical education students),” he said. “The passion, and what drives us in our school district, is that all of our students exit us college, career and life prepared.”
He called Hinds “an incredible partner.”
After the ceremony, Shealy said the combination of school district students enrolled at River City Early College and in the career technical programs at the Hinds Vicksburg-Warren Campus has increased to enrollment at the campus, making it the third largest campus in the Hinds system.
“We have almost 1,200 students enrolled in post-secondary, dual credit, dual enrollment AP (advanced placement) courses now, which is almost double what it was three years ago. We’ve had a significant increase in our dual enrollment acceleration block. The majority of our students that are juniors and seniors take college courses now and most of that is at no cost to the parent or the school.”
Students can also earn industry certifications through career technical education programs at no cost “so they can be prepared to go right into the workforce if they so choose.”
The building is funded by a 1.4 mill property tax approved by the Warren County Board of Supervisors in 2016.
“We would not be here today without help and support of the Warren County Board of Supervisors,” Muse said. “They’ve been wonderful to work with over the years, and when we as a board presented to them the need for additional education facilities, and something that would also provide some economic development opportunities for Warren County they gave us a good listening ear and they came up with the necessary financing.”
The 44,000-square-foot building will have 10 classrooms on its second level and eight training labs on its first floor. The labs will have a modular layout to be flexible and adjust to curriculum needs.
“The entire upper floor will be our River City College location,” Shealy said.
The building will be located at the front of the campus and also house two administration areas and a multipurpose space to accommodate 100 people for community events.