The Utica Campus of Hinds Community College officially opened the newly renovated J. Louis Stokes Student Center with a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Aug. 31.
The building underwent a massive multi-million dollar renovation and took four years to complete. The student center is home to Student Services and dining areas, as well as computer labs, financial aid and the campus bookstore.
Ceremony speakers included Hinds President Dr. Clyde Muse, Utica Campus Vice President Dr. Tyrone Jackson, Board of Trustees President Paul Breazeale and Alexis Williamson, president of the Utica Campus Student Government Association. Among the guests were family members of J. Louis Stokes, for whom the building was named in 1998.
Renovations on the building began October 2013 and concluded this summer. The $5 million project was funded by the Title III, Part B Strengthening HBCUs funding formula.
In his remarks, Jackson noted that the facility will serve three main purposes: To recruit and retain students, promote the “third space” concept, which is learning outside the classroom, and serve as a catalyst for student success.
“The Student Center will assist students tremendously when matriculating through the system. A popular concept in higher education is call ‘third space.’ Its focus is on learning that takes place outside of the classroom. This fine facility will assist students in supplementing classroom instruction. Research supports just as much learning takes place outside of the classroom as it does inside of the classroom. This facility serves as a catalyst,” Jackson said.
Hundreds of students and staff, as well as guests toured the 21,066-sq.-ft. building enjoying live music and food. Patrons were allowed to visit labs and offices, the bookstore and the many dining areas. Decked out with new furniture and creative amenities, the renovated student union received rave reviews from all in attendance.
“This building will be important for our students and will serve the campus well. You won’t find a facility of this kind more beautiful and functional then this building. We’re very proud of the outcome,” said Hinds President Dr. Clyde Muse.
The student union was dedicated on March 19, 1998, to J. Louis Stokes, the sixth and final president of Utica Junior College. Stokes held the position during the college’s merger with the Hinds Junior College District in 1982. From 1987-1993, he was vice president for Continuing Education and Community Services. From 1993 until his retirement in 1997, he served as executive assistant to the president for special projects.
J. Louis Stokes Student Center reopens at Hinds CC Utica Campus.
Hinds Community College is celebrating its 100th year of Community Inspired Service in 2017. Hinds opened in September 1917 first as an agricultural high school and admitted college students for the first time in 1922, with the first class graduating in 1927. In 1982 Hinds Junior College and Utica Junior College merged, creating the Hinds Community College District. Today, as Mississippi’s largest community college, Hinds Community College is a comprehensive institution with six locations. Hinds offers quality, affordable educational opportunities with academic programs of study leading to seamless university transfer and career and technical programs teaching job-ready skills. To learn more, visit www.hindscc.edu or call 1.800.HindsCC.