RIPLEY • One hundred and ten people endured the heat Thursday morning during the groundbreaking for the Northeast at Ripley facility on City Ave. N. in Ripley. Several dignitaries representing Northeast Mississippi Community College and the community spoke on the benefits of the campus to Tippah County.

A $2,215,000 project, the facility represents a "brick and mortar" presence for teaching academic coursework and providing area industry with workforce development in Tippah County. It will be constructed by CIG Contractors from Corinth and will include classrooms, labs, conference room space and workforce training facilities.

“It is great not only for Northeast but for Tippah County,” Northeast President Dr. Ricky Ford said about the Ripley campus.

Ford, who is a native of the Dry Creek community, thanked the Tippah County Board of Supervisors for their guidance and assistance in purchasing the property and deeding the land to the college. Jack Ramsey, Chairman of the Board of Trustees at Northeast, reiterated by stating, “The supervisors spent hours putting this together. They were great to work with. Their interests was in you, the people of Tippah County.”

Dr. Ford went on to say that Rep. Jody Steverson and Sen. Rita Parks went above and beyond to get everything arranged for the project. Ford also thanked Bobby Martin and The Peoples Bank for all they do for Northeast and the people of Tippah County.

“We have a slogan to "Grow Northeast" and to move forward with that growth. And we want to take that slogan and use it in Tippah County, and more importantly, move forward in Tippah County,” said Ford.  

Ford said he hopes the campus will enhance K-12 education. He said the campus is also for workforce training and creating skilled workers to increase economic development in Tippah County.

Bobby Martin said he felt like he was standing on hallowed ground at the construction site Thursday. Martin said his uncle owned the land when he was growing up and he remembered playing there as a child and the sale barn that used to be on the property.

“This is one of the most beautiful sites in this whole county you could choose to build a community college,” said Martin. “Dr. Ford knows we will support it and we are going to do everything we can to make it be successful. It will be successful.”

Martin said The Peoples Bank would be making investments toward that success. He presented Ford with a check for $100,000 during the ceremony to use for the college.

“The Peoples Bank is proud of this opportunity and it is an investment for us going forward,” continued Martin. “The money we are going to give them is going be used to make this a better community and give our people and customers an opportunity to be successful and that’s what we are about at The Peoples Bank.  We are proud of this institute and we are going to support it.”

First District Supervisor Jimmy Gunn said the supervisors had the vision for a long time to bring a Northeast campus to Ripley and more education to the county. “We look forward to how it improves the future of people here in Tippah County,” said Gunn.

Several local firms contributed to the planning and building process for the Ripley campus. PryorMorrow is the architect. Rud Robison Jr. from PryorMorrow recognized other contributors to the team: Cook Coggins Engineers, Scott Engineering, Fowler Engineering, Charlie Watson and Miranda Robinson from PryorMorrow, and CIG Contractors.

Northeast will teach high school equivalency (GED) coursework, dual enrollment, core academic courses, and workforce development courses at the Ripley site. The facility is expected to be completed in September 2020.

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