Communiversity remains on schedule

Despite some rain delays, the Communiversity remains on schedule for a spring 2019 opening. Representatives from EMCC, the Golden Triangle Development LINK and other involved organizations met Wednesday to discuss the project. (Photo by Charlie Benton, SDN)
Staff Writer

A joint meeting was held Wednesday between the Golden Triangle Development LINK, East Mississippi Community College and other involved entities to discuss the progress of the approximately $33 million Communiversity.

The facility, currently under construction just west of the PACCAR plant in Lowndes County, will house EMCC’s industrial technology programs, as well as a museum and other resources dealing with industry in the Golden Triangle.

LINK Chief Operating Officer Macaulay Whitaker said the meeting had been a success.

“I think it was extremely productive,” Whitaker said. “I hope we can continue to do so as we move forward with this project. “

Due to the rains experienced over the course of the summer, the project is approximately four weeks behind schedule. However, EMCC President Thomas Huebner said he was not concerned.

“We still feel like we’re on the timeline in order to get the building when we’re supposed to,” Huebner said. “The folks at West Brothers are working hard to get the building finished within the timeframe. I feel good about where that is. It’s just normal stuff.”

Completion is scheduled for fall 2018, with operations at the facility starting in spring 2019.

Huebner explained the Communiversity’s purpose.

“We are excited not only because it’s going to involve training opportunities for local business and industry, but it will also be a tool the GTR LINK can use to recruit business and industry to the Golden Triangle,” Huebner said.

Whitaker said having the Communiversity would make the area more attractive to industry through fulfilling a need for workforce development in the area.

“One can infer that a facility like the Communiversity with its intended purpose and design and capacity for not only growth in sheer size and numbers of candidates we’re able to generate, but the facilitation of growth and development of new programming that further supplies a qualified workforce to our existing partners,” Whitaker said.

The 143,000-square-foot facility will include 16 classrooms and 21 training bays, drastically increasing the amount of space devoted to CMTE programs. Both noncredit programs and career technical certificate programs will be offered.

“It’s programs specifically affiliated with manufacturing,” Huebner said. “We’re preparing students to come to East Mississippi Community College and be equipped for manufacturing positions in the local economy.”