By Dennis Seid/NEMS Daily Journal
TUPELO – The move was nine months later than planned, but for the Mississippi Department of Transportation’s District 1 office workers, the wait was worth it.
In late April, they moved into their new $5.1 million, 34,000-square-foot headquarters building that sits atop a hill overlooking North Gloster Street.
The two-story brick building is officially named after Roy Clark Adams, the state highway commissioner from 1948-1968. The former MDOT headquarters building also was named after Adams.
The old facility, built in 1959, is being torn down to make way for a parking lot. After 54 years, it had served its purpose but outlived its usefulness.
Now, MDOT District 1 engineer Bill Jamieson and his other colleagues have plenty of elbow room at their spacious new digs.
“We have about 50 percent more room,” he said. “It’s nice.”
In addition to separate offices for MDOT staff, there’s additional office space available if needed. And the building has plenty of storage and meeting space, unlike the old facility. Most importantly, MDOT personnel don’t have to worry about leaks, asbestos and mold, which plagued the old building.
It also had structural and electrical problems.
“We had looked at renovating the old building, which also wasn’t up to code, but it was more cost-effective to build a new one instead,” Jamieson said. “A new building was very much needed.”
The Tupelo office is the last of six statewide district offices to be renovated or rebuilt.
But the work in the All-America City took a little longer than expected because the original contractor on the project filed for bankruptcy protection in January last year. That put the work a few months behind schedule.
The bonding company and state officials had to rebid the project, and Fulton-based Jesco was tapped to finish the work.
“It was an uneventful move,” Jamieson said. “There are just a few minor details to finish.”
There’s no grand opening ceremony planned anytime soon, at least not until the new parking lot is paved. And that will take several months. The work to take down the old building is a separate contract, and the parking lot work will be another contract that will have to be bid on.
Meanwhile, Jamieson and the rest of the MDOT personnel are relishing their new digs.
“The old building was used for 50 years, but even when I moved into it 30 years ago it was having problems,” he said. “The new building will last at least 50, 60 years and probably longer.”