Old Main Academic Center opens doors

The 150,000-square-foot Old Main Academic Center includes 20 classrooms and is built in the same style as the famed Old Main dormitory that burned in 1959. The $41 million building opened its doors Monday. (Photo by Russ Houston, MSU)
Staff Writer

A five-year, $41 million project culminated Monday at Mississippi State University.

The Old Main Academic Center and attached parking garage opened its doors with a ribbon cutting ceremony. The building will serve primarily as classroom space, with 20 classrooms, 14 study rooms and a 455-seat dividable auditorium. On its busiest days, approximately 11,000 students will pass through the building. The building will also contain a library commons with a 16-station computer lab, a printing center, collaboration station and research assistance.

The 148-space parking garage on the bottom two floors is open to the public at a fee of $3 for the first hour and $1 for additional hours. The building will fall under the administration of MSU Libraries. The building’s rotunda is named for longtime MSU classics professor and administrator Robert E. “Bob” Wolverton.

Associate Dean of University Libraries Stephen Cunetto said the project had been a long time coming.

“Having a parking garage tied into the building made it very challenging for construction on that particular site,” Cunetto said.

Construction was undertaken by the Brandon-based Johnson Construction. Belinda Stewart of Eupora was the project architect.

The building also holds an art gallery, which is now showing an exhibit on the original Old Main Dormitory, which was destroyed by fire in 1959. The academic center’s design is based on the original Old Main.

“It really turned out to be a state-of-the-art classroom building that will enhance teaching and learning on this campus,” Cunetto said.

Cunetto also thanked MSU President Mark Keenum for having the vision to approve the construction of the building and for honoring the original Old Main Dormitory.

“As we continue to grow, we are committed to providing our students and faculty with the resources they need to excel,” Keenum said. “The new Old Main Academic Center represents this commitment. It is a beautiful addition to the historic heart of our campus, but moreover, it offers an exceptional teaching and learning environment.”

The 150,000-square-foot facility will be put to use for the first time today as MSU begins its fall semester.