Anybody who has driven past Dyersburg State Community College-Jimmy Naifeh Center in Covington recently has probably noticed the construction on the southwest portion of the campus.
Construction on the school's new learning resource center has been in full swing for months. A large gable on the front of the 54,000-square-foot, $9.8 million facility is all but done and work is being done on the rest of the building, which will include labs, a tutoring center and the Tipton County Public Library.
At Monday's monthly meeting of the Tipton County Legislature, DSCC president Dr. Karen Bowyer gave commissioners an update on the construction. She said that, although recent rains has somewhat slowed progress, the plan is to have the center open by May or June of next year.
Tipton County Executive Jeff Huffman said the whole center will be beneficial to the county, particularly the library.
The library in Covington has just 15 computers for public use, Huffman said, and there are time limits and waiting periods to use them. The new library will have 280 computers, 75 of which will be open to the public.
“County computer access is going way up,” Huffman said. “The amount of business at the Covington library has tripled … A lot of job applications these days are electronic. This will help out those people.” Among the amenities of the learning center is a geothermal heat and air system, which Huffman said will be much more efficient and cost-effective than traditional systems.
“It's supposed to be the best there is,” Huffman said.
The center will also have free wireless internet access, meaning citizens with tablets and laptops will be able to have internet access even if a computer is not available.
“Demand for library services is as high as it's ever been,” Huffman said.
Plans for the learning center have been in the works since money became available through the Board of Regents in December 2010. The center will be the third building at the Jimmy Naifeh Center "I think we've proven that these kinds of colleges can certainly help produce quality workforce, people with more skills who can attract better-paying jobs," Bowyer said. "The fact that we're building a nicer facility will attract local high school kids." Huffman said he hopes young student will utilize the library.
"Kids will be used to being on a college campus," Huffman said. "Hopefully that will encourage them to go to college."