GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - It took nearly five months to convert part of the old WIN Job Center building in Gulfport into a college campus. The classrooms are equipped with the latest technology and the labs look like a hospital setting for hands-on training. But there's still much work to be done before classes start next month.
"It's very exciting with the opportunity to start from scratch and create a new campus, so the people can come and fulfill their dreams of getting an education," said Dr. John Peterson.
Peterson is the campus director of the new Miller-Motte Technical College on Highway 49. The school will initially offer courses in Allied Health. Students can earn an Associates Degree or a diploma for one-year programs.
"After doing the research, we saw that there is a need and the Gulfport/Biloxi area is a growing area and we wanted to be able to give the members of the community here another option," said Peterson.
Brianna Mitchell was filling out financial aid forms on Wednesday. She is among the first to enroll in the school.
"It's closer to where I live and the convenience," said Mitchell.
She is interested in the Lab Tech program.
"I want to get a career started for my family and work in either a hospital or a private office," said Mitchell.
Starting next month, the college will renovate the rest of the building, adding more classrooms, offices and possibly courses. One section will be remodeled during the final phase of construction.
"The mission of our organization is to change futures and change lives, and that's really what we do here," said Peterson. "We focus on the student to help them achieve their goals."
The first day of class is May 23. There are day and night classes, along with some on-line courses. Miller-Motte has 16 other campuses across the country. Its parent company is based in Virginia.