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Hinds building multi-purpose facility

PEARL — On July 28, Rankin County and Hinds Community College (HCC) leaders broke ground on the new Multi-Purpose Center located on the campus in Pearl.

The new 75,000-square-foot building is slated to open in fall 2010. It will house a 3,000-seat auditorium with a fixed stage and balcony but moveable seating that doubles as open space suitable for such events as trade shows. The $26-million project is being financed through Rankin County taxpayers.

“This will be something for the future and will serve this county in all kind of ways, economically and culturally, for students and for chambers of commerce and all the different types of activities we will have taking place,” said HCC president Dr. Clyde Muse.

The expansion is part of the master plan for the 25-year-old campus, the only public higher education venue in the county. The expansion was made possible in 2007 by the addition of 60 acres of land south of the existing campus. The Rankin County Board of Supervisors purchased 20 acres for the college. Ronnie and Sigrid Garner donated an additional 40 acres.

The classroom wing will house six classrooms/labs, two industrial startup classrooms, faculty offices and a student lounge. The current multi-purpose room in George Wynne Hall will be converted to additional classroom space, Muse said.

The new building is being constructed on the south end of the new parcel of land visible from Interstate 20. The view of the Multi-Purpose Center from the interstate will be enhanced by a lake with water features.

The flat-floor auditorium can accommodate trade shows and large banquets while moveable panel walls will allow the space to be divided into a multi-room conference center.

A suite of offices and a large conference room will be available for event organizers and will provide a more intimate setting for small group meetings. Large indoor lobbies will provide break-out space and lead to an exterior terrace area overlooking the lake. A full catering kitchen accompanies the meeting space.

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