August 21, 2017

A much-anticipated project to place the majority of the overhead utility lines at East Central Community College underground is underway on the campus in Decatur.

All above-ground electrical, telephone, fiber optic, and other utility lines are being placed underground from Broad Street on the front of campus to 10th Street on the north side of campus.

Work began in June, and the timeline calls for the project to be completed by December 2017.

“In addition to helping improve the aesthetics of campus, this is also a hazard mitigation project that accomplishes a part of our overall plan to reduce the risk of damage to property or person during hazardous situations,” said ECCC President Dr. Billy Stewart. “It is an important component of the 5-Year Campus Master Plan and will also allow ECCC to serve as a staging center during emergency situations when power is out elsewhere.”

The majority of funding for the $1.2 million project is through the state of Mississippi.

Stewart stated, “We are especially thankful to State Representative Randy Rushing who represents District 78 and Leake, Newton, and Scott counties and other members of the legislative delegation from our five-county service area who were instrumental in securing partial funding for this project.”

There will be planned power outages and road closures while work is being performed in specific areas of campus, but Stewart said that the college is hoping to plan any outages during non-peak times such as weekends, holidays, and possibly Fridays when a small number of classes are held at ECCC.

“We hope the project can be completed on schedule in December; however, all involved recognize the need to be extremely careful because of the uncertainty in some instances of what is already below ground around our campus,” Stewart added.

The project is under the supervision of the state of Mississippi Bureau of Building, Grounds, and Real Property Management. The engineer for the project is Schultz & Wynne PA of Jackson and the contractor is Webster Electric Co. Inc. of Meridian.