MSU hosts Smithville officials

By The Associated Press

STARKVILLE — As students wind up classes at Mississippi State University, residents and officials from Smithville were to be on campus, checking out possible designs for a new municipal complex in the town devastated by a tornado in April.

The university’s 27 architecture students worked up 11 plans — some with one building, some with as many as three, said professor John Poros, director of the architecture school’s Carl Small Town Center — the architecture school’s outreach center.

He said they’re providing options and ideas for town officials to consider.

“They can figure out, ‘Oh, this might be too big’ or ‘This might be just what we want. Do we want to break it up, or put it all in one building?’ It gives the town options, so when they actually go and hire an architect to do this work they’ll have something in mind,” Poros said.

Each includes mayor’s and town clerk’s offices, fire and police stations, a library and a public assembly room. Smithville’s infrastructure committee and officials with the Federal Emergency Management Agency set the requirements at a meeting earlier this year.

The daylong session was to start at 9 a.m. Friday, the last day of class. It’s the architecture class’s second presentation to town officials. During the first half of the semester, Poros said, the students created four plans for redesigning the city.

The F5 tornado tore down so much of Smithville that there was room to imagine many sorts of changes. Some plans focused on bringing roads out to the Tombigbee Waterway and making it part of the town, Poros said.

The one city officials like best tied the town together with a network of pedestrian and bicycle paths, Poros said. “They want to use that as a basis for their comprehensive plan that they are now hiring an architectural planning firm to do,” he said. “They’re just working out the contract now.”