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County breaks ground on Business Complex, Arena

Members of the Lafayette County Board of Supervisors and other elected officials gathered on County Road 406 yesterday for a groundbreaking ceremony at the site of the new Lafayette County Business Complex and Multipurpose Arena.

The multi-million dollar project is something board president Jeff Busby said was six years in the making.

“Many thought this day would never come, but after years of hard work and planning, we are proud to be here at the groundbreaking,” Busby said. “These buildings have been a dream of ours, and something Lafayette County has lacked for many years.”

The business center and arena will be built on about 50 of the 160 acres owned by the county off County Road 406. Another portion of that plot of land will be leased to the Lafayette County School District for the construction of a new elementary school.

The need for the center came when the Mississippi Department of Transportation announced the widening of Highway 7 and that several county offices along the highway would need a new home, including an office for the Mississippi Highway Patrol. That project has since been stalled, but the offices on Highway 7 are still relocating to the business complex.

Other county offices, like the Department of Human Services, the Coroner’s Office and Justice Court, will be housed in the new complex. Also in the complex will be the Oxford Municipal Court, which is currently held in City Hall but has outgrown its space.

The city will rent the space in the business complex from the county at $85,000 a year for 10 years, along with an estimated $9,660 for utilities. WIN Job Center will also share a space in the complex.

Moving the courts to the more spacious County Road 406 location is something District 1 supervisor Kevin Frye said is long overdue.

“Both our courts are overcrowded in their current locations,” Frye said. “The facilities we have for these other entities are out of date, so it was important for us to provide them with updated offices.”

Behind the center will be county’s first indoor-outdoor 48,000-square foot arena, which will have a dirt-floor interior with concrete around the outside for seating and concessions.

Both of the projects are expected to take approximately 11 months to complete, according to the contracted project manager Casey Rogers, of Innovative Construction Management.

With two different companies working on the project, Rogers said the timeline will move particularly quickly.

“We have two different contractors, so there’ll be a lot going on simultaneously,” Rogers said. “The major utilities coming to the site will be step one, and the site work is done already and the ground is already graded, so we’ll be able to begin foundation work as well. We’ll be able to tackle multiple buildings at one time, and it’ll go quicker.”

Tupelo-based Century Construction Group was awarded the bid for the business complex, and Pontotoc-based Flagstar Construction won the bid for the arena and extension offices.

For more information on the Lafayette County Business Complex and Multi-purpose Arena, visit www.lafayettems.com.