March 15, 2013 10:37:13 AM
Renovations are under way at Lion Hills Golf Club, as East Mississippi Community College readies the facilities for an expansion of its Mayhew campus in 2013.
EMCC purchased the bankrupt country club and golf course for $1.6 million during an auction in October, and it was announced that the facilities would be altered to accommodate the school's culinary arts and hotel-restaurant management programs. School officials also cited the possibility of adding a recreational and golf turf management program at the site.
The club remains open to its members and the public, and to ensure a seamless transition, EMCC retained both the kitchen and grounds-keeping staff.
Technically, the renovation is separated into two parts: face lift and structural. The face lift side of the renovation is currently under way and Dr. Paul Miller vice president for EMCC's Golden Triangle campus, said the main objective with this portion is updating the building's interior.
"We aren't doing anything major structurally yet," Miller said. "We are just trying to make things a little brighter. New carpet, some new paint on the walls, that kind of thing."
The set completion date for the face lift part of the renovation is scheduled for the end of April, and Miller said the project is on track.
The second portion of the renovation, the structural side, will begin after classes have concluded for the spring semester. The same equipment being used for EMCC's current culinary arts students will be moved from the Golden Triangle campus to Lion Hills. Miller said EMCC did not want to disrupt the current semester just to get a jump on the project.
"We are continuing full operation for both students and patrons of the club for the remainder of this term," he said.
Two rooms in the back of the building, The Fairway room and The Grill room, will be transformed into a demonstration kitchen and dining area for training.
Beginning in August, students from the culinary arts and hotel-restaurant management, as well as the new recreational and golf turf management programs will be given hands-on opportunities to work in a professional environment at Lion Hills on a daily basis, something Miller said will be an irreplaceable experience.
"It really gives them the opportunity to put their skills to work," he said. "For some of the events, the students and faculty will have complete charge of the menu, the preparation, the service, all that. There is no way that won't strengthen their resumés."
Not only will students be called on to help with EMCC events, but for the more advanced students, there will be a chance to participate in wedding receptions and other big events scheduled at the club.
Students of the culinary arts and hotel-restaurant management programs are already required to complete supervised work experience, and Miller said Lion Hills could serve that requirement for some students.