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College campus to open in January

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By Trena Packer Street

Local education continues to be a primary focus with the renewed emphasis on higher education and the University of Memphis Collierville campus relocating to the historic downtown.
The new campus is a 27,000-square-foot building on the west side of 8.85 acres fronted by Poplar on the North, Walnut Street on the East and College Street to the South. The project, approved by the Board of Mayor and Aldermen in late 2013, is funded with bonds that the U of M will repay over 20 years, $324,000 each year.
The $4.5 million project began mid-year and is on target to be completed by year end with classes starting in January 2015.
The University of Memphis has held classes in Collierville, on the grounds at Carrier Corp. since1999.
“We look forward to having an even larger presence in Collierville now and especially being in the heart of the town, just off the square and will emphasize degree completion and graduate programs at the Collierville site,” said Dan Lattimore, Ph.D., U of M Dean of University College.
Classes will begin on Jan. 20, 2015.
The U of M location is adjacent to Collierville Schools Administration Central Offices housed in the Collierville Historic High School on College Street.
The history of the parcel of land, dedicated to education, can be traced by to the original purchase price of $50.
The campuses sit on property held by Bellevue Female College, Bellevue Conservatory, Miss Holden’s Seminary, Collierville High School and, most recently, the Middle School.
“It is great that the U of M will be in the historic district. We are very pleased the look and style of the new campus building is very similar to the adjacent historic structure. The town staff has done an excellent job in reflecting a similar vintage feel with a new design,” Collierville Mayor Stan Joyner said.
Aspects of the design of the new building reflect the style of structures within the historic district.
The brick color was selected to blend with older brick and mortar in keeping with the character of the historic high school building.
Designated parking on the campus grounds faces Poplar Ave. as the primary entrance. Petersen Lake Road will extend across Poplar to the parking area and an additional traffic signal using a decorative signal mast arm pole.
A pedestrian entrance from College Street, will allow the ease of walking to the Town Square.
The additional 235 parking spaces around the square, along with Collierville Schools staff, U of M educators and students should help to enhance the economic growth of the downtown district.

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