MDOT to build new HQ in Tupelo, won't say cost

By Carlie Kollath/NEMS Daily Journal

TUPELO – The Mississippi Department of Transportation plans to build a new district office in Tupelo.
The new district office will be in front of the current building, which is at the top of a hill on North Gloster Street in Tupelo.
The current building, built in 1959, will be torn down once the new 35,000-square-foot office is completed, according to district engineer Bill Jamieson.
The new building will be almost triple the size of the current MDOT district office. The project is scheduled to be finished in June 2012.
Jamieson said the new multimillion-dollar office is needed because the current building is more than 50 years old, is not handicap accessible and has mold and air conditioning problems.
The building also doesn’t meet fire codes, he said.
Jamieson and Northern District Commission Bill Minor declined to specify the amount budgeted for the project, for which bids will be taken next week. However, Minor said MDOT spends less than 1 percent of its annual budget, which was more than $1 billion this year, on buildings throughout the state.
Minor added that the district offices throughout the state are being updated. New ones have opened in Hattiesburg and McComb, he said, and the one in Batesville was remodeled.
Minor expects the new Tupelo office to be similar to the Hattiesburg office.
Said Jamieson, “We were content that building a new one was cheaper than refurbishing the current one.”
The district’s administrative work is done at the Tupelo office, where about 40 people work. He expects the number to grow as additional bridge inspectors are hired to meet new inspection requirements.
Contact Carlie Kollath at (662) 678-1598 or carlie.kollath@djournal.com.