Photo: Members of the DeSoto County Board of Supervisors are shown with Northwest Mississippi Community College president Dr. Michael Heindl and DeSoto Center Dean Dr. Keith Reed at the board meeting on Monday, Feb. 5 in Hernando. (Bob Bakken/desotocountynews.com)
Northwest Mississippi Community College president Dr. Michael Heindl and DeSoto Center Dean Dr. Keith Reed appeared at Monday’s DeSoto County Board of Supervisors meeting to update the board on the progress of the school.
Among the items discussed, Heindl talked to the board about the progress of the Ranger Center, a new facility under construction that will be part of the DeSoto Center campus in Southaven.
Groundbreaking for the Ranger Center took place last May and Heindl said the workforce training center should be finished in the next few months.
“It’s under construction now and it will be completed at the end of this calendar year for classes as Dr. (Keith) Reed had mentioned, associate degree nursing and other classes to begin in January 2025,” Heindl said.
The Ranger Center is a multi-purpose workforce and career-technical education center that will offer the first registered nursing program in DeSoto County. It offers workforce development training and career technology courses.
Heindl said the 45,000 square foot building costs at $15 million to build and will have a significant impact for DeSoto County.
“DeSoto County is the largest in terms of our population and largest in terms of support,” Heindl said. “In terms of our operation, we have two operational centers in the county, one more comprehensive in Southaven, and we have an Olive Branch location as well. DeSoto County is a big player, as it relates to all of the programs and services that the college has.”
The Northwest president added that many students are following a general program of study as they prepare for a four-year university, but a number of programs related to medicine are also popular.
“A lot of them are following a Licensed Practical Nursing program on the health science side,” Heindl said. “Respiratory Tech is a popular program and we started a new surgical tech program.”
Heindl added the school hopes to do more when the Ranger Center is completed for career-technical education, in addition to workforce development.
There are seven campuses for Northwest Mississippi Community and its 11-county service area. More than 4,500 students have DeSoto County addresses. Northwest is the third-largest community college in the Mississippi system.