Old Main Plaza
With support from a private donor, Mississippi State will improve its central campus "green space," enhancing its pedestrian-friendly campus and commemorating historic Old Main Dormitory (See campus map.), a campus landmark until it burned in 1959.
At one time the largest American dormitory under one roof, Old Main housed more than 40,000 predominately male students during its 40-year lifespan. More than 1,000 resided there at the time it was destroyed.
Drawing on elements from the original facility, a new pedestrian corridor—to be called Old Main Plaza—will be developed between the newly renovated Colvard Union, Perry Cafeteria and McCool and Montgomery halls. Old Main covered the site now occupied by McCool Hall and Colvard Union.
Once approved by the Board of Trustees, state Institutions of Higher Learning, the project—now in the design phase—will begin immediately and will be implemented in phases. Improvements are consistent with goals of MSU's campus master plan.
Features of Old Main Plaza will include:
- Replica arches that duplicate those of the Old Main will be constructed approximately at the site of the originals. They will create a visual "axis" between the Drill Field bust of Stephen D. Lee and the arched entrance doors of Perry.
- A 30-foot pedestrian corridor will link surrounding buildings.
- Lee Boulevard north of Colvard Union and Perry Cafeteria, which was gated last year to remove normal vehicular traffic, will become a pedestrian walkway that creates space for outdoor gatherings.
- Tracy Drive, between Lloyd Ricks and Perry Cafeteria, as well as Walker Drive south of Hull Hall and the Chapel of Memories, will be improved to create a more efficient traffic flow and to complete a loop around the historic central campus.
- A new fountain will be constructed as a visual centerpiece north of Perry Cafeteria.
Approximate cost of the project, which will be constructed under the direction of the university's Facilities Management team, is $5 million.