MCC President Dr. Scott Elliott said that supporting the project is a “no brainer” for the college.
“Right now, whenever we have a weather event on campus, we’re kind of scrambling to move students to the center of hallways or to the few basement facilities that we have,” Elliott said. “With a safe room that can serve as many as 1,000 people, MCC would be able to offer its students a much safer and secure environment. Also, we have so many events on campus that sometimes we run out of meeting spaces. This building would greatly enhance the college from that perspective, as well.”
The county is working with Terrell Temple of Engineering Plus in the development of the project. Temple called the project a “slam dunk.”
“No matter what kind of project you typically get involved in,” Temple said, “there’s usually an upside and a downside. In the case of this project, I truly fail to see the downside. The building will be located in close proximity to the interstate such that displaced people can access it conveniently. Also, in terms of maintaining and utilizing the facility, MCC has been in the business of hosting campus and community events and maintaining buildings for several generations. So, in my estimation, this will be a very positive partnership between the county, MEMA and MCC.
Elliott noted that MCC is already a designated MEMA shelter. MCC’s gymnasium was air-conditioned several years ago and multiple generators were installed on campus through a FEMA/MEMA grant. In return, the college agreed to serve as a shelter through the use of its gymnasium, fitness center and cafeteria.
“MCC already stands prepared to assist displaced persons through its designation as a state shelter,” Elliott said. “If the Red Cross calls upon us, we’ll be ready to serve. This safe room project will only enhance MCC’s capacity to assist in case of an emergency.”