Pearl River Community College officials took another giant step forward Thursday in planning to build a new college in Hancock County.
The school finalized the purchase of six acres at Stennis International Airport, adjacent to Hancock High School. The funds came from the BP and Deepwater Horizon oil spill money.
PRCC’s long-range plan has been to build a new college in Hancock County in an effort to offer higher education opportunities that would aid local industry as well as the coastal workforce.
In November, that goal received a $2.5 million head start when the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality announced that PRCC was one of the 19 new projects that will benefit from BP and Deepwater Horizon oil spill money.
“This is another big step in the process,” said PRCC President Dr. Adam Breerwood. “It has been a goal of Pearl River Community College for several years to establish a permanent campus location in Hancock County.
“This campus would focus on providing job skills training, workforce development initiatives and higher education opportunities. There is no greater catalyst for economic development than a skilled and educated workforce. Pearl River is committed to providing such opportunities. Hancock County has exceptional leadership and the support for this project has been overwhelming.”
According to Dr. Scott Alsobrooks, the Hancock campus will offer post-secondary career and technical education programs.
“The new Hancock facility will offer local residents outstanding education opportunities while providing the area an advantage over its competition because it would allow the region and even the state to engage in workforce-on-demand by creating a pipeline that perfectly lines up with jobs created by this industry,” said Alsobrooks..
Breerwood said the next step will be to secure additional funding before the building process can begin. PRCC plans to ask the Legislature to earmark funds for the building project in the 2018 session.
“Geographically, Hancock County is positioned in an ideal location to attract business and industry from around the world,” said Breerwood “This land purchase is another investment for construction of a workforce development center, another step in securing the required job skills for those recruitment opportunities. The center will focus on preparing students for current industry needs and jobs created in the future.”
Hancock County is one of six counties served by Pearl River Community College. PRCC currently operates a Hancock Center on U.S. 90 in Waveland.