MDA to provide $3M for health education complex at Tradition

lwalck@sunherald.comJuly 7, 2014 

The Mississippi Development Agency has approved $3 million in funding for a new health education complex in Biloxi's Tradition community.

The Health and Wellness Commons is a masterplan to create healthcare education facilities and clinics on 100 acres.

It will be part of the Mississippi Health Care Industry Zone Act, which MDA administers. The act provides incentives to healthcare projects in the state, as part of Gov. Phil Bryant's Blueprint Mississippi, which has a goal of 4,000 new nurses by 2016.

Under the act, Tradition will be responsible for creating a minimum of $70 million in investments in capital improvements over the next five to 10 years.

Five acres of the commons will be dedicated to a new facility for the Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College's nursing program, which was announced in November.

Its goal is to double the number of graduates from the Associate Degree Nursing Program who can easily transition to the School of Nursing at either the University of Southern Mississippi or William Carey University, according to a press release.

The Harrison County Board of Supervisors on Monday acknowledged receipt of that funding and discussed negotiations with engineering firm A. Garner Russell & Associates.

Also at the meeting, the supervisors heard from Humane Society of South Mississippi Executive Director Tara High about a possible new program.

She said the county is the only government agency on the Coast that's been supportive of spay/neuter efforts and statistics show those efforts

have paid off.

That's why the HSSM is trying to get a $60,000 grant from PetSmart Charities to offer those services to low-income residents of unincorporated areas of the county.

"If we can get more of those animals sterilized then we will have fewer overpopulation problems. so it's a preventative measure," she said.

No additional money would be required from the county and the supervisors unanimously approved a resolution supporting the effort to get the grant.

In other business, the supervisors:

n Approved the TIF plan for Gulfport's Anchor Plaza after no comments from the public were offered.

n Extended the contract to house Gulfport's inmates at the county jail for another month while the two sides are negotiating.

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