MSU celebrates new school year with opening of Old Main Academic Center

MSU hosted a ribbon cutting ceremony and open house Monday [Aug. 14] for the new 150,000-square-foot Old Main Academic Center. Pictured, from left to right, are Eupora-based architect Belinda Stewart; MSU Classics Professor Robert E. “Bob” Wolverton; MSU Vice President for Campus Services Amy Tuck; MSU Provost and Executive Vice President Judy Bonner; MSU President Mark E. Keenum; MSU Dean of Libraries Frances Coleman; Catherine Boyd; Louis Burns Brock; and MSU Associate Dean of Libraries Stephen Cunetto. (Photo by Russ Houston).

The 150,000-square-foot Old Main Academic Center is built in the same style as the famed Old Main dormitory that burned in 1959. On its busiest class days, the building will be used by an estimated 11,000 students. (Photo by Russ Houston)

Contact: James Carskadon

STARKVILLE, Miss.—Mississippi State officials celebrated the completion of the university’s newly constructed Old Main Academic Center with a ribbon cutting ceremony Monday [Aug. 14].

The 150,000-square-foot facility, built in the same style as MSU’s famed Old Main dormitory that was destroyed by a fire in 1959, marks a new addition to the center of campus that will serve MSU students for generations to come.

“As we continue to grow, we are committed to providing our students and faculty with the resources they need to excel,” MSU President Mark E. Keenum said. “The new Old Main Academic Center represents this commitment. It is a beautiful addition to the historic heart of our campus, but moreover, it offers an exceptional teaching and learning environment.”

The Old Main Academic Center features 90,000 square feet of classroom and student study space, along with two lower levels that comprise 60,000 square feet of parking garage. On its busiest days, the $41 million building will be used by an estimated 11,000 students. Designed by Eupora-based Belinda Stewart Architects and built by Brandon-based Johnson Construction, the building has numerous design features that make it energy efficient.

“The students who take classes in this building will become teachers, interior designers, accountants, engineers and Extension agents,” MSU Provost and Executive Vice President Judy Bonner said. “They will become doctors, veterinarians, lawyers, maybe even college professors. Some will become CEOs, others will become inventors. If the past is a predictor of the future, we know that the students who learn in Old Main Academic Center will be civic leaders and represent the great people of Mississippi.”

The classrooms inside the Old Main Academic Center contain state-of-the-art technology designed to meet the demands of multiple teaching styles and learning environments. In addition to classroom space, students will be able to take advantage of a commons area, an art gallery and a lounge area. The facility contains 14 group study rooms with screens and laptop connections, allowing students to collaborate, study and practice for presentations.

MSU Libraries will oversee the building’s administrative operations. Old Main’s Library Commons contains a 16-station computer lab, a collaboration station, printing and hands-on research assistance.

“Our students are so important to what we do,” said Dean of Libraries Frances Coleman. “This building will ring true to what Mississippi State stands for.”

Parking and Transit Services will oversee the parking garage that will include 148 parking spaces open to students, faculty, staff and the public on a pay-for-use basis. MSU Dining will operate a Provisions on Demand (POD) store that will sell food and drinks.

An impressive first floor rotunda in the Old Main Academic Center is named in honor of Robert E. “Bob” Wolverton Sr., former vice president for academic affairs and longtime MSU professor of classics.

Along with Wolverton, MSU is recognizing a graduate for a contribution that helped spark the building’s construction. The auditorium is named for Turner A. Wingo of Collierville, Tennessee, a 1967 MSU business graduate, retired retailer and 2016 National Alumnus of the Year. The Turner A. Wingo Auditorium will be a multipurpose area with state-of-the art instructional technology used for teaching and as a venue for musical performances and speakers.

Additional private gifts are enhancing the facility with naming opportunities through the MSU Foundation.

The gallery in the Old Main Academic Center has been named the Louis Burns Brock, Jay and Hank Brock Gallery. The gallery was made possible by a gift from Louis Burns Brock, a 1967 MSU general business administration graduate who resides in Starkville. The first exhibit in the gallery, now open, highlights life inside the Old Main dormitory.

A 1983 chemical engineering graduate, David Purvis, and his wife Susanne Purvis of Houston, Texas, are honoring her parents, the Boyds, with a first-floor classroom. Starkville resident Catherine R. Boyd is professor emeritus of human sciences at MSU, and Leroy H. Boyd was professor emeritus of animal and dairy sciences who died in 2011.

A gift for a study room in honor of Peyton and Elizabeth Nunnally comes from their son John Nunnally, a 1963 electrical engineering graduate, his wife Marilyn, and their family of Marriottsville, Maryland. Peyton Nunnally worked at MSU from the 1950s until his retirement in 1965.

Old Main Academic Center’s 20 classrooms will be put to use when fall classes begin at MSU on Wednesday, Aug. 16.

“We look to the future of the Old Main Academic Center with optimism and great anticipation,” MSU Vice President for Campus Services Amy Tuck said. “The biggest beneficiaries of this beautiful building will be our students, because that’s our university’s primary focus. In this new academic space, you can access the knowledge, skills and the resources that will move our university, our state and our nation forward.”

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Monday, August 14, 2017 - 4:26 pm