By Chris Kieffer/NEMS Daily Journal
TUPELO – Itawamba Community College officially launched on Monday a capital campaign to raise money for a new $15 million health science education center on the school’s Tupelo campus.
At a dinner on Monday night, the college announced the three-year, $8 million campaign.
ICC President David Cole said contributors have already pledged $5 million to the training center, $2 million of which comes from the Gilmore Foundation of Amory. ICC will also apply $2 million of grants to the construction.
The center will host the college’s eight allied health clusters in one location.
“We want to maximize the future in health care in the region by increasing the number of graduates in that field and taking advantage of the strategic location for students,” Cole said.
That location places it near North Mississippi Medical Center.
Site work has already been done for the school, which will be built on College View Drive near the Lee County School District’s Central Office. An official groundbreaking could be held within a few weeks, Cole said.
The contract was recently awarded to Panola Construction, and work will take 18 to 24 months, Cole said.
The new 75,750-square-foot, two-story facility will host programs in associate degree nursing, licensed practical nursing, health-information technology, occupational therapy assistant, physical therapist assistant, radiologic technology, respiratory care technology and surgical technology.
“Community colleges don’t enter into capital campaigns very often seeking partnership support,” Cole said. “This will be one of the first for the college.”
It is part of the college’s role to prepare health care and manufacturing workers for the region, Cole said.
“This is not only a health care issue,” he said. “It is an economic development issue.”