October 7, 2009 10:04:00 AM
The Oktibbeha County School District is "well under way" in talks with East Mississippi Community College about opening a college branch at the unused O.L. Wicks school in Maben, the district''s superintendent said.
"EMCC-Mayhew had a record enrollment this year. I think they are trying to branch off some and meet the needs in other communities, such as the Maben area," Superintendent James Covington told the Oktibbeha County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday. "The Wicks campus was a real good fit for them."
He said the college is conducting a feasibility study to determine such things as the soundness of the structure, which had been a high school before the county school district consolidated facilities.
Covington said if EMCC does move forward to open a branch in Maben, the school district would turn the property over to them for that use. EMCC would pay a nominal fee to gain ownership of the property in the not-for-profit arrangement.
"It will pretty much be more of an enhancement to the community," Covington said. "They are interested in workforce training there as well as offering some college courses. We have families there who could take advantage of those opportunities."
Within the last few years, the school district tried to turn the campus over to the town of Maben to house a variety of services, but this arrangement failed to materialize and the property reverted to the school district.
The Oktibbeha County School District board of trustees met Tuesday night with four members of the Oktibbeha County Board of Supervisors to discuss the situation.
"We wanted to inform the supervisors what we, as a district, are doing," Covington said.
He said they discussed the venture at Maben and talked about the nursing facility EMCC is proposing to build in the industrial park near Golden Triangle Regional Airport.
Covington said EMCC''s board was to meet Monday night, and he expected to hear from them this week about their ongoing interest in the abandoned school.