By Carmen K. Sisson/The Commercial Dispatch
COLUMBUS – Construction and renovation projects, totaling more than $23 million, are under way at Mississippi University for Women as the college works through the midpoint of its 20-year master plan.
The plan was developed following a 2002 tornado and, though school officials had hoped to be further along with some projects, overall good progress is being made, said Nora Miller, MUW vice president for finance and administration.
Miller said this summer, officials will re-evaluate the plan and make changes, if necessary.
The current work is evident the moment visitors enter the front gate. To the left, orange plastic safety netting surrounds Orr Chapel, where the roof is being replaced.
Roofs also are being replaced at the Mary Wilson Home and Carrier Chapel. Work began on the two chapels in February, and work will begin at Mary Wilson in May. Phase 1 of the $480,000 project will be complete by June.
Roofing projects totaling $885,000 will also take place at the President’s Home, Frazer Hall, McDevitt Hall and Hooper Science. An additional $35,000 will be spent at the President’s Home for exterior painting, replacement of rotten wood, floor repairs and electrical repairs.
Poindexter Hall, where a $9.5 million exterior and interior renovation is slated for completion this summer, is one of the biggest projects planned.
The 1905 building, which houses the music department and is one of 23 campus buildings listed on the National Register of Historic Places, has posed some challenges, due to its age, as well as its unusual construction.
Part of the renovations are requirements to bring the building into compliance with the ADA standards for handicapped accessibility. Historic preservation codes prevented aligning the floors, so an elevator had to be installed for each wing.
At a cost of $6.2 million, phase one of the Fant Library renovation and expansion is another major project.
“Our library has not been updated since the 1970s,” Miller said. “We joke that it’s almost retro. This project will allow us to have a library more reflective of today’s students, more the Barnes amp& Noble experience.”
If funding is available for the second phase to begin immediately after phase one is complete, the entire $18 million project should be finished within three to four years, Miller said.