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MAYHEW – Dr. Paul Miller, vice president of East Mississippi Community College’s Golden Triangle campus, was a busy man Friday as his team managed five simultaneous events.

The first week of Camp AMP, which teaches students in middle and high school about modern manufacturing, was coming to a close over in Workforce Services. Hundreds of students who will be attending EMCC in the fall were on campus for JourneyEAST orientation sessions. EMCC was hosting its annual catfish fry for elected officials. The crew from SuperTalk Mississippi was broadcasting live from the breezeway next to the library.

“But the biggest event was the ground-breaking for a new Student Union and multi-purpose building. It will take about two years to build, but it’s going to make an enormous difference for our students,” Miller said.

The two-story, 76,000-square-foot Student Union will include 12 multi-purpose classrooms, a lecture hall and computer lab with seating for about 100 people, large and small conference rooms, a bookstore, a large cafeteria with an open dining area and a couple of private dining rooms, an art gallery and space for a small fitness room. The facility will be open to students, staff and the Golden Triangle community.

Prosperity, service, change

County supervisors and other elected officials, architects, builders, economic developers and educators joined EMCC employees and staff at the future site of the Student Union. It will be located next to Golden Triangle campus’s last building project, a Humanities & Fine Arts Building that opened in 2007.

EMCC President Dr. Rick Young said Friday’s ground-breaking demonstrates the teamwork that has made the Golden Triangle area the envy of the rest of our state and nation.

“As the region served by EMCC grows and prospers, EMCC’s capacity to serve must grow. There is a direct correlation between the economic prosperity of an area and the level of service provided by its community college,” Young said.

“Our county leaders recognize this correlation and have enabled EMCC to increase its capacity to serve this region, to reach the new levels of education and training now required by our international industries, to assure the people in the counties served by EMCC that they will have access to world-class workforce training and higher education.”

Harry Sanders, president of the Lowndes County Board of Supervisors, said EMCC has come a long way.

“When I was a teenager, this area was a cornfield and pine trees. I didn’t think anything would ever happen in Mayhew and look at it now,” Sanders said.

“What’s going on here at EMCC’s Golden Triangle campus is an example of what happens when people pull up their pants legs and work together.”

EMCC alum comes full circle

Jose Arellano of Pryor & Morrow is the principal architect on the project. Arellano is an EMCC alumnus and a graduate of the School of Architecture at Mississippi State University. His family moved to Columbus from Mexico in the mid-90s.

“It’s hard for me to believe that just 20 years ago, I didn’t know any English. I don’t think my parents fully understood how well they had done in choosing the Golden Triangle, or just how much the area had to offer,” Arellano said.

“I never thought that I would be given the opportunity to give back to my community. EMCC has allowed me to grow in my profession through education and through the buildings we have designed together.”

Arellano has been involved in the design and construction of two projects at EMCC’s Scooba campus: Sullivan-Windham Field, which opened in 2011; and the F.R Young Student Union, which opened in 2012.

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