MSU Students to Be Honored for New Albany Work

STARKVILLE, Miss. — Outreach. Collaboration. Innovation. Sustainability.

These paradigms daily impact quality of life in Mississippi, and at Mississippi State, two architecture majors and the university’s Carl Small Town Center have been working to make them an integral part of community development, according to the Mississippi Chapter of the American Planning Association.

At its annual conference in Meridian Friday, Oct. 26, the state chapter will recognize seniors Zachary N. “Zach” James of Terry and Rachel M. McKinley of Huntsville, Ala., for the positive impact their work is having on small town planning and design.

James and McKinley will receive the Student Collaborative Project Award for their spring 2012 work in the center’s CREATE Common Ground class. The honor recognizes their community improvement plans for New Albany.

Additionally, the Carl Small Town Center will receive the APA MS Public Outreach Award for its recently published book, “Mississippi Bypass Guidelines,” a resource for elected officials and community stakeholders as they confront the positive and negative impacts that new highway bypasses can have on rural communities.

The student award honors a project demonstrating close collaboration with practitioners, planners and/or faculty in order to improve the built environment.

“Rachel and Zachary were able to go into the New Albany community and apply their architecture and planning skills to a real world project,” said Leah Faulk Kemp, assistant director at the center. “They collaborated with the community, the center and (director) John Poros, and they proposed several different projects. The totality of their work was put in a book so community leaders could have resources for implementing their projects.”

Kemp said the award also is an honor for the City of New Albany, and two community leaders from the town plan to be present for the award presentations.

The center won just one of three outreach awards from APA MS for programs effectively informing and educating the public about the value of planning and thereby creating greater awareness among citizens, and other segments of society, about planning’s impact on quality of life.

“‘Mississippi Bypass Guidelines’ aims to help communities deal with the introduction of a bypass to their area: how it affects communities, how bypasses can be improved and how understanding the strengths and weaknesses of bypasses can help develop goals for the future of a community,” Kemp said.

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