Northwest celebrates groundbreaking for new Mechanical Technology Building

    The Mississippi Manufacturing Employment Intensity Index experienced its seventh consecutive gain this month, and manufacturing hours worked is at a historically high level of over 43 hours per week, after seasonal adjustments. As more manufacturing outfits continue migrating to the Mid-South to set up shop, Northwest Mississippi Community College is preparing for the increasing demands for a highly-trained workforce by adding a new Mechanical Technology Building to their Career-Technical facilities.

    This Bureau of Buildings project, paid for by state appropriated bond money, will cost $4.27 million. The 37,000-square-foot facility will house a Precision Manufacturing and Machining Technology lab; two Heating, Air Conditioning and Refrigeration (HVAC) Technology labs; one Welding and Cutting program lab; three classrooms; two computer labs; office space for instructors; and one large, outdoor, covered lab for HVAC and Welding projects. This new facility will double the classroom and lab space for these career-technical programs that produce graduates in high demand by area industry.

    “We are thrilled about the opportunity to put our top-of-the-line instructors and state-of-the-art equipment in an industry-standard facility to match. Recruiting the best students will be easier, and we can look forward to hosting area industry and prospective students now,” said Jerry Nichols, associate vice president of Career-Technical Education and Workforce Development.

    All three of the programs that will be housed in the new facility are currently at capacity and need large amounts of sizeable equipment to train their students. The programs’ instructors agree the current space is crowded. “Logistically we can work on larger projects, and that gives students even more experience to take into the real world,” said Rodney Steele, welding and cutting instructor.

    “We want to provide Northwest students with the safest, most practical and most current hands-on experience possible before we send them into the workforce. This new space will allow us to freely add new and improved equipment, as funds become available, to keep our students’ skill sets as current as possible,” said Nichols.

    With the relocation of the three programs, space will be made available in the existing Career-Technical complex for existing programs to renovate and expand. For more information about Career-Technical Education at Northwest, contact Nichols at 662-562-3361.

    Pictured… Northwest instructors and administrators celebrate groundbreaking for a new Mechanical Technology Building. Pictured L-R are Rodney Steele, welding and cutting instructor; Michael Kinberg of Quitman County, welding and cutting student; Jerry Nichols, associate vice president of Career-Technical Education and Workforce Development; Northwest President, Dr. Gary Lee Spears; precision manufacturing and machining technology instructors Jeff Covington and Jim Gilliam; precision manufacturing and machining technology student Ben Hickey of Panola County; and HVAC instructors Josh Buchanan and Whit Perry. (Photo by Justin Ford)