University constructionprojects get go-ahead

By Errol Castens/NEMS Daily Journal

OXFORD – The state College Board on Thursday approved three construction and renovation projects at the University of Mississippi’s Oxford campus and a potential land sale at Mississippi State University.
At Ole Miss, the circa 1929 Music Hall will receive new heating and cooling systems a pitched roof, whose original function was as University High School.
Shafer & Associates will be the design professional on the estimated $3.4 million project. A 12- to 18-month timetable is expected.
Near the other end of campus, 83-year-old Johnson Commons will undergo an estimated $5.5 million renovation on its east end.
That end of the building – also originally built in 1929 – will receive a new, water-resistant set of foundation and exterior walls, slab and roof, along with corrected drainage, interior renovation and new HVAC, electrical and plumbing systems.
No design firm has yet been identified for the job, said Ole Miss Director of Facilities Ian Banner, but construction is expected to begin when renovation of the west end is completed in July 2013 and is to be completed by August 2014.
IHL board members also approved at Ole Miss the construction of a 350-car parking lot near the east end of campus and the widening and extension of a road on the east side of the football stadium.
The road will be widened and will receive design elements common to other parts of campus. When finished, it will serve the new parking lot and connect Ford Boulevard with Hill Drive.
Mississippi State University received tentative approval to sell 1.129 acres of land to Cooley Center Hotel, LLC, for “the development of a Marriot Courtyard or an equivalent hotel,” MSU’s request stated.
Other contracts are in the works to sell and lease adjacent properties for the construction of a parking garage, conference center and restaurants and the renovation of the Cooley Building.
errol.castens@journalinc.com