Hinds buying former Paxton Road church property

Published 12:00 am Thursday, January 4, 2001

[01/04/01] Hinds Community College will buy 15.5 acres and the 4,755-square-foot building owned by Wesley Methodist Protestant Church on Paxton Road, Vicksburg-Warren County Branch Vice President George Barnes said Thursday morning.

The property just west of the Vicksburg-Warren County Branch on Mississippi 27 will be used to expand the campus that serves about 2,000 students.

HCC President Clyde Muse announced the acquisition plans during a meeting with school trustees Wednesday.

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The price is about $300,000, Barnes said.

“The property is available at a reasonable price,” he said. “We’re trying to take advantage of this opportunity before anyone else does.”

Barnes cited an increase in the need for work force training in the community and said the current facility of three buildings has gotten “pretty crowded. We don’t have anywhere else to grow,” he said.

The Hinds campus is flanked by a Vicksburg Warren School District administration building on the north and Beechwood Elementary School on the south, all along Highway 27.

Enrollment figures for the spring semester showed big gains in the job training, adult literacy and GED programs at most of Hinds’ campuses, including Vicksburg. Overall enrollment at the Vicksburg branch was down 1.9 percent, or 30 students, from spring 1999 figures.

Last semester, Hinds also expanded its Internet class offering to 16, for which about 500 Hinds students and more than 60 students from other colleges signed up.

Barnes said he expects the expansion efforts to be complete “in the near future.” Muse said Wednesday he hopes the deal will go through this month.

Hinds, the state’s largest community college, is based in Raymond. For fall 2000, across HCC’s six campuses, enrollment was 14,409 students, an increase of 4.3 percent.

In September, Wesley merged its congregation with First Methodist Protestant Church, and their services are in a church on Porters Chapel Road.