Areas highlighted in green in this conceptual drawing depict new walking paths and a courtyard that will be constructed on East Mississippi Community College’s Scooba campus with federal funds awarded to the college.

February 25, 2021

East Mississippi Community College has been awarded federal funds administered by the Local Public Agencies division of the Mississippi Department of Transportation to construct walking paths, pedestrian crosswalks and courtyards on the college’s Golden Triangle and Scooba campuses.

EMCC’s Golden Triangle campus, which is located in the Mississippi Transportation Commission’s Northern Transportation District, was awarded $1 million of the federal funds. The college’s Scooba campus is located in the Central Transportation District and was awarded $1.9 million for work to be done there.

“These are separate projects and we are excited and pleased that we happened to put in two applications that were worthy of being awarded,” EMCC Vice President of Operations Dr. Paul Miller said.

MDOT serves as a conduit for local governments to access federal Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act funds. MDOT provides project guidance and oversight, but does not receive any portion of the funding.

The funds have been allocated for use on Transportation Alternatives Projects at municipalities, colleges and universities across the state for non-roadway types of improvements, such as sidewalks, multiuse paths and pedestrian lighting, among other things.

EMCC must provide a match of at least 20 percent for each of the award amounts, with $250,000 or more earmarked for the project at the Golden Triangle campus and more than $480,000 slated for use towards the work to be done on the Scooba campus.

EMCC administrators asked for $70,000 more than was approved for the project on the Scooba campus and $200,000 more than the amount awarded for the Golden Triangle campus.

“We have not decided yet if we are going to trim our projects or if we are going to put more money in ourselves to do everything we wanted to do,” Miller said.

Among other things, the project on the Golden Triangle campus calls for closing a service road between the Douglas Building and the Johnny W. Fisher Math and Science Building to through traffic and converting it into a walking path. The path, which will include landscaping, will extend from the parking lot west of the Center for Manufacturing Technology Excellence and connect to an existing sidewalk east of the library.

A covered awning between the Douglas Building and Math and Science Building will be removed and a large courtyard with brick pavers will be constructed in its place. The plans also call for paving and widening the walking path around the pond at the center of the campus and adding new curbs and gutters.This conceptual drawing shows what the area between the Douglas Building and the Math and Science Building on East Mississippi Community College’s Golden Triangle campus will look like once walking paths and a courtyard are installed using federal funds.

All of the walking paths, which will include access points into the buildings, will be Americans with Disabilities Act compliant.

“This will make those areas a lot more accessible, especially for someone who is in a wheelchair,” Miller said.

The project at the Scooba campus calls for construction of a walkway encircling the Hawkins Building, the Keyes T. Currie Coliseum and the parking lot between the two buildings. Another walkway will be built around the outside perimeter of Stennis Hall, the Davis Administration Building and the Tubb-May Library.

A large courtyard area with landscaping and multiple seating areas will be constructed in the commons area between the F.R. Young Student Union and the Davis Administration Building, with ADA compliant sidewalks linking to other buildings.

Plans also call for a walking path that runs from Athletic Cottage Villages west of the Gerald Poole Field baseball complex to the interior of the campus, and another along Everett Street that extends to the Chapel in the Pines.

A walkway from the parking lot east of the Hawkins Building will cross Everett Street west of the Physical Plant building and exit in front of the Sullivan-Windham Field to alleviate foot traffic on the roadways during football games.

“Both of these projects are going to make it much more convenient for our students to get around campus,” EMCC President Dr. Scott Alsobrooks said. “The courtyard areas will also provide outdoor spaces for students to relax between classes when the weather is nice. This will improve the aesthetics of the two campuses while enhancing the quality of our students’ experiences while they are here.”

EMCC has until June 30 to submit paperwork needed to establish a memorandum of understanding with MDOT. Once that is completed, design work on the two projects can begin. After the engineering designs are completed, the projects can be put out to bid.

Hopes are to begin work on the projects next year, with a tentative completion date of late 2022 or early 2023.  

“Since these are separate projects, we don’t yet know if the work will be done simultaneously on both projects or if we will complete work on one before we start work on the other,” Miller said.