Space in the Douglas Building adjacent to the former Center for Manufacturing Technology Excellence on East Mississippi Community College’s Golden Triangle campus were renovated and now house Division of Nursing and Health Sciences programs. Here, a wall was removed between two classrooms in to accommodate large class sizes in some of the nursing programs.

January 22, 2024

The former Center for Manufacturing Technology Excellence building on East Mississippi Community College’s Golden Triangle campus will house Division of Nursing and Health Sciences programs once planned renovations there are completed.

Space adjacent to the CMTE in the Douglas Building has been converted to accommodate additional classrooms and labs for health-related programs.

“We need a centralized space for our Division of Nursing and Health Sciences programs and room for growth as we look at the potential expansion of existing programs and possible additions to our health-related offerings,” EMCC Vice President of Instruction Dr. James Rush said. “There is a demand for employees in the health care industry and we want to make sure we are positioned to meet the future needs of both the community and our local employers.”

Some program expansion has already begun. The number of Associate Degree Nursing students doubled in March with the addition of a second cohort of students. In August, those students merged with the ADN cohort that began in January to form a single class of about 50 students.

“There is a shortage of nurses, and we are excited to be able to help address that problem locally by expanding our Associate Degree Nursing program,” EMCC Director of Nursing Programs/Associate Dean of Health Sciences Jamonicia Johnson said.

The CMTE originally housed administrative offices and programs under EMCC’s Workforce and Community Services umbrella, which have moved to The Communiversity, a $42 million facility that opened to students in August of 2019 and is dedicated to training students for careers in modern manufacturing.

Once renovations at the CMTE are completed, the bulk of the space will be reserved for Associate Degree Nursing programs to include classrooms, labs and instructors’ offices. Johnson’s office will be located in the building, along with those of administrative support staff. There will also be a reception area for visitors and space for students to relax and study between classes.The Division of Nursing and Health Sciences will have its own dedicated space on East Mississippi Community College’s Golden Triangle campus, with plans to move those programs into the former Center for Manufacturing Technology Excellence once planned renovations are completed.

“Other programs may be located in there as well, depending upon future needs and available space,” Johnson said. 

Renovations that began in early 2023 on space adjacent to the CMTE in the Douglas Building wrapped up in December.  Bids are expected to go out soon on work at the CMTE.   

“In the Douglas Building, we combined some of the standard-size classrooms to turn them into lecture halls to accommodate some of the larger class sizes in the nursing programs,” EMCC Vice President of Operations Dr. Paul Miller said. “There will be two computer labs that will serve the nursing and health science programs.”

New training equipment was installed in the existing skills lab in the Douglas Building, which expanded to 18 beds. A simulation lab in the CMTE building will be set up like a hospital ER with patient beds and a nurses’ station that will allow for simulation of medical procedures, such as CPR, intubation, defibrillation, obstetrics and more. Once completed, there will be a second skills lab equipped with manikins and new training equipment. Additional space in the Douglas Building is reserved for Practical Nursing classrooms and instructors' office space.

The estimated cost to renovate and equip the CMTE is $4 million.

“We were awarded funds by the Mississippi Legislature that are managed by AccelerateMS as part of their work to increase nursing and allied health training in the state,” Miller said.

Over the past 12 months, AccelerateMS awarded more than $22 million in American Rescue Act funds to the state’s 15 community colleges, K-12 schools and institutions of higher learning to bolster high-demand, high-wage training programs in areas such as health care, advanced manufacturing and career technical trades.

EMCC’s Division of Nursing and Health Sciences received $2 million from AccelerateMS, with a separate disbursement of $567,828 for the project. An additional $92,225 from AccelerateMS was earmarked for the Surgical Technology program, and $55,475 for the Associate Degree Nursing program, some of which will offset the cost for renovations and new equipment purchases.

"Enhancing the human capital infrastructure in Mississippi is vital to our ability to prepare workers for the increasingly complex jobs available to them,” said Dr. Courtney Taylor, AccelerateMS deputy director for Strategy and Programs. "Over the last year, we have been fortunate to support numerous quality programs with our partners throughout the state who are doing the heavy lifting of preparing Mississippians for better careers."

The remaining renovation and equipment costs will be covered by EMCC through funds available from previous bond issues by the Mississippi Legislature, along with $500,000 EMCC received from the Appalachian Regional Commission.

At some point, the CMTE building will be renamed and an open house will take place once renovations are complete.

“Healthcare is vital to both the wellbeing of area residents and to the economic sustainability of our region,” EMCC President Dr. Scott Alsobrooks said. “We are committed to providing industry-relevant training in health-related programs that benefit both our students and local employers. We would not be able to accomplish that without the support of members of the Mississippi Legislature, AccelerateMS and the ARC. We are grateful for their support.”

As programs grow, new staff will be added.

“Our instructors are exceptional,” Johnson said. “With the exception of new hires, all of our Associate Degree Nursing instructors started out teaching in the Practical Nursing program, where you only need an associate degree to teach. They all have master’s degrees now and some have earned their doctorate. It just demonstrates that you can start out in the Practical Nursing program and progress on if you choose to do so.”

Plans are also in the works to construct a new career technical building on EMCC’s Scooba campus, which will free up space in Hawkins Hall to potentially expand Division of Nursing and Health Sciences programs there. It is anticipated that the new career technical building at Scooba will open in 2025.