By TAYLOR VANCE / Daily Journal

TUPELO • BancorpSouth is investing $15 million in an expansion project at its Jackson Street Operations Campus that will add at least 100 full-time jobs. The company is expected to release the full details of the expansion at a groundbreaking ceremony today.

The expansion will help the city help secure a Development Infrastructure Program grant from the Mississippi Development Authority to help offset costs associated with widening part of West Jackson Street.

David Rumbarger, the president and CEO of the Community Development Foundation, said in a statement to the Daily Journal that a growing number of BancorpSouth employees have relocated to Tupelo from around the country in order to help process more than $20 billion in loans.

“For these reasons, it is critical for BancorpSouth to expand this facility to accommodate the company’s rapid growth,” Rumbarger said in the written statement.

BancorpSouth employs more than 4,500 people in eight states. Approximately 1,000 of those are employed in Tupelo with 717 employed at the Jackson Street Campus.

Don Lewis, the city’s chief operating officer, told the Daily Journal that because of the bank’s expansion along the road, the city will receive grant funds worth approximately $750,000.

“The DIP grant is going to be used for improvements on West Jackson out by the airport,” Lewis told the Daily Journal. “That is one of our major connections.”

According to a memorandum of understanding adopted by the Tupelo City Council on Aug. 6, BancorpSouth must create 100 new full-time jobs and maintain these jobs for a full year.

“The Benefiting Business agrees to inject at least $750,000 into construction and related equipment,” the MOU reads. “The source of these funds will be BancorpSouth Bank’s internal funds.”

Melissa Scallan, the spokesperson for MDA, told the Daily Journal that the city applied for the grant and that grant is currently being reviewed by MDA officials.

The city’s Major Thoroughfare Committee voted at its latest meeting to make widening West Jackson Street into a three-lane road between Airpark Road and Coley Road a priority project for the remainder of the committee’s current phase.

BancorpSouth will now also qualify for the Advantage Jobs Rebate program, which will provide a rebate to eligible businesses that create jobs that meet or exceed the average annual wage of the state or county where the company operates. @taylor_vance28