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County Business Center, Arena construction on schedule

The Lafayette County Business Center and Arena projects are on schedule, according to Bryan Ellis and Kyle Reeder of Innovative Construction Management.

Ellis, project manager for the site, said having things run smoothly is the result of coordination with different parties working on the two projects. While the weather has come into play since the April groundbreaking ceremony for the projects, he said it’s never been bad enough to knock them off course.

“We’ve had several rain days since May, but none have affected critical path,” Ellis said. “We determine if a rain day inhibits any of the critical path activity and have had none to this point. We’ve had rain, we’ve had mud, but nothing has stopped us from completing this scope of work.”

In terms of the business center site, structural steel is now complete on all buildings, and placement of metal studs will begin this week. 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 housed in City Hall but has outgrown its space.

“With the business center, I feel like maybe the residents won’t notice the change as much, but having the county workers in one place and not running all over town will take less time and energy,” Kyle Reeder, quality control manager, said. “I’m a resident of Lafayette County, and… it’s a good feeling to be able to give back in some way and be a part of all this new construction happening here.”

The City of Oxford 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 a year for utilities. WIN Job Center will also share a space in the complex.

In the middle of the complex will be an open-air courtyard, an uncommon feature in many government buildings, Ellis said.

“Having the courtyard plaza as a common area between these buildings is going to be unique. It’s going to be really warm, and they’ve got a nice paver system going down and the landscaping is going to be great,” Ellis said. “It’s refreshing to see that the county’s putting a good spin on that, not just going out here and throwing up three buildings. Kudos to the architects for putting it all together.”

The Lafayette County Arena has seen significant progress as well. No other structure like it exists in Lafayette County, Ellis said, so it’s exciting to see what activities and events it will bring.

So far, the 48,000-square foot arena, which will have a dirt-floor interior with concrete around the outside for seating and concessions, has all red iron steel erected and 75 percent of the roof complete. At last week’s Lafayette County Board of Supervisors meeting, ICM was given permission to advertise for bids for the materials to cover the floor in the arena. It’s a mixture of soil and synthetic products, Ellis explained, so it can be easily compacted or loosened as needed.

“I think, when the general public sees the massive structure which is the Lafayette County Arena, it’s going to blow them away. It’s going to be really nice,” Ellis said. “It’ll be able to hold a wide variety of events as far as equine, 4-H and archery events. The arena is really going to be mind-blowing when people see how big it is.”

The Lafayette County Business Center and Arena projects are expected to be completed by early March 2019.