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The growing college will soon have a new $3.5 million classroom building.
 
By GALEN HOLLEY
Staff Writer


   Construction is nearing completion on a new classroom building at Holmes Community College Grenada Center.
   The project will likely be finished in September and classes could start as early as October, school officials said.
   Holmes broke ground on the $3.5 million project in March 2011with a projected completion date of Aug. 9, 2012.
   According to Jim Haffey, vice president of the center, the school always anticipated the completion date would be pushed back a bit.
   “It’s not giving us any heartburn whatsoever,” said Haffey. “We’ve been pretty close to schedule all along. We have enough breathing room to make sure everything is exactly how we want it.”
   Construction crews hope to drive the last nail in September, according to Leana England, treasurer of the organization handling the project.
   “Part of it depends on the weather,” said England.
   When completed, the new facility will be the gem in the crown of the small, growing campus. It will feature three biology labs, a computer lab, seven faculty offices an audio-visual room and a stepped conference room.
   “It will be a friendly building in the middle of the campus,” said Girualt Jones, an architect with Jones-Zander LLC, who designed the facility.
   Jones estimated Thursday that the construction was 85 percent complete.
   “It will face the community as well as the rest of the campus,” said Jones.
   Construction of the new building was made possible partly through a grant from Forward Grenada Inc., a community effort in the 1990s that raised approximately $5 million to be used to promote economic development and infrastructure. The grant of more than $260,000 was left over from a project started in 1998, according to representatives from Forward Grenada.
   Among the first students to christen the facility will be those enrolled in classes through the University of Mississippi extension. Ole Miss offers a degree in elementary education as well as in general studies through the Grenada Center.
   The facility will also be home to the new physical therapy assistant program.
   According to Haffey, school administrators will soon start meeting to begin searching for a director for the program.  
   The program will employ two, full-time physical therapists who will serve as instructors, one of whom will be the district program director, Haffey said.
   Once the director is hired, officials will begin building criteria for students, Haffey said.
   Holmes will begin rolling out the physical therapy assistant program in February and by April officials hope to have selected 30 applicants and five alternates from among the approximately 100 who have applied, Haffey said.


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