PERKINSTON, MS (WLOX) - Students at the Perkinston campus of Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College are hearing the sounds of construction these days.
Two major projects are now being built: A bell tower in the center of the campus and a new learning resources center.
Drive onto the Perk campus, and you'll first see the new learning resources center coming together.
The 19,000 square foot, $6 million facility is much more than a library. It will provide students the research support they need to succeed at college.
"Our students will utilize the technology, the media center. Of course, our book collection will encompass the top floor. Lots of different learning opportunities on the bottom floor of that facility," said college vice president, Dr. Mary Graham.
The other project now under construction is destined to become a centerpiece on campus. The clarion bell tower was a generous gift from a former student.
Dr. Ottis Ball from Jackson paid the half million dollar cost of the project.
"He came here in 1950 as a junior in high school, couldn't read. He learned how to read. He went his freshman year then transferred to the University of Mississippi. And he was in the first class of the med school at the University of Mississippi," said MGCCC President, Dr. Willis Lott.
The bell tower will be constructed with reclaimed brick from the old gymnasium that was demolished to make way for the learning resource center.
The center is set to open in the spring of next year. College leaders say students are looking forward to the completion of both.
"The students are excited. And they're proud that this is their community college. They see so much development and so much growth," said Dr. Graham.
Along with the campus improvements, the number of students is also growing. Dr. Graham says enrollment is on the rise at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College.
College president, Dr. Willis Lott, is retiring in June.
He will be replaced by Dr. Mary Graham, who says she's looking forward to becoming the 12th president of Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College.