September 29, 2014 Rotogram: 12

MSU Women’s Golf

Ginger Brown-Lemm is head coach of Mississippi State University’s Women’s Golf team which is ranked tenth nationally. David Boles will introduce her.

Next Week: New Retirement Community

Saunders Ramsey will tell us of the new development, The Claiborne at Adelaide, across from the Country Club. Carey Hardin will introduce him.

For the Record— September 22

  • Invocation and pledge:          Russell Dodds
  • Attendance:                                          71.8%
  •                            Present — 113 (46 exempt)
  •        Absent — 67 (11 exempt, 12 honorary)
  • Makeup reported: Gary Jackson.
  • Guests: Visiting Rotarians were Jeremy Whitmore and Jimmy McCluskey. Member guests were Garrison Arinder of Grant Arinder, Jeffrey Duckworth of Russell Dodds, Diane Jackson of Gary Jackson and Jeremy Nicholas of Carrie-Beth Randall. Guests of the club were Max Garzoni, RYE student, and Connor Guyton, Starkville Daily News.

Meeting Notes

  • In President Michelle’s absence, President-elect Zach presided and Assistant Secretary Bud Gordon welcomed guests.
  • Printed club directories are now available at the secretaries’ check-in table.
  • Bobby Crosland, fall social chair, reminded everyone that we would convene at 5:45 p.m. on Oct. 13 for a social hour followed by a world-class steak dinner and bingo.

Cub Scout Pack Rebounds

Past-President Brent Fountain, Cubmaster, reported that Cub Scout Pack 14, one of our club-chartered Scout units, is selling popcorn.

More than 50 new boys were recruited to the pack this fall. That triples the number of boys from last year. At meeting time, the unit occupies the whole third floor of the Applegate Building at First Baptist.

“With increased enrollment, popcorn sales are more important than ever,” he said. “We have Cubs from all walks of life. The money they earn helps them pay registration fees, purchase a uniform or attend summer camp.”

Seventy percent of the money stays local with half going to supplement Rotary funding. The other half goes to an account for the boy to spend on scouting.

The top seller gets a ride in Assistant District Governor Carey Hardin’s airplane.

Record Club Attendance

Not only is our club growing, it is seeing consistent high attendance.

Joe Bumgardner, attendance committee chair, said 36 members had a 95 percent or better attendance record over the last quarter. At this time last year, the list topped out at 25.

With a bit of effort, Vice President Zach drew Prentiss Gordon’s name for a local dining experience reward. On his first try, he drew Bumgardner’s name. Despite audience protests Joe called for another name.

New Member Orientation

New members are reminded that club orientation is at 11:45 with lunch at Harvey’s on Wed.

Rotary Youth Exchange Essay Contest

Celebrating its fortieth year in business, Coldwell Banker of Starkville is sponsoring an essay/speech contest focusing on the Rotary motto. Spearheaded by the Rotary Youth Exchange Committee, the contest is open to any Oktibbeha County resident who qualifies as a high school senior for the 2014-15 school year.

The basic requirement is a 700-800 page, typed and double spaced essay submitted by Oct. 17. The top ten essayists will make an oral presentation to a judging committee on Oct. 28. The three finalists will speak to the club on Nov. 3. Scholarships of $700, $500 and $300 will be awarded.

History and Development Mix at the Cotton Mill

September 22 — The long anticipated redevelopment and renovation of the Cooley Building at the John M. Stone Cotton Mill is moving forward rapidly.

Mark Castleberry of Castle Properties, Inc. in Columbus said conferences already are being booked ahead of a June 1, 2015, opening. The garage will open before that. The hotel is a bit behind schedule due to ground issues that required 150 foundation piles.

The mill comprises three sections built in 1902, the 1920s and the 1940s. It employed about 350 people, fielded two baseball teams and was the city’s largest contributor to United Way.

The company located in Starkville due to the textiles and fibers expertise at the university. It made high quality chambray fabric including a wedding dress line.

When the mill closed in 1962, MSU purchased it for a physical plant. It was registered as an historic landmark in 1975.

The structure’s east end was the last section built and was later damaged by fire. So, the National Park Service allowed for more extensive remodeling to create the 1,000-seat ballroom, replacing support posts with stronger steel beams for more open space. It will seat 550 people for dining and have seven breakout rooms.

“Building this thing is a lot of fun,” said Castleberry. “Funding was absolutely awful. It was the most complex thing that our fairly sophisticated team ever worked on.”

Castleberry holds 50 percent of the redevelopment corporation, Cooley Center LLC. The remaining half is owned by contractor Copeland & Johns Inc., Dale Partners Architects and Pickering Firm Inc. civil engineers.

The total site will include a 110 room Marriott Hotel situated 25 feet from the conference center and a three-level, 450-vehicle parking garage co-owned by the city and MSU. Future plans include restaurants and mixed-use development.

“This is a rather peculiar project in that the city is getting a conference center with no public money to build or operate it,” said the developer of hotels throughout Mississippi. “Some public money will go into infrastructure improvements.”

“When completed the building won’t look a whole lot different on the exterior because it is on the National Registry of Historic Places,” he said. “We can’t do a lot of elaborate landscaping because it was a turn-of-the-century industrial building.”

Castleberry promised beautiful spaces that feature and do not hide structure that identifies it as a mill. The first-floor assembly hall will feature eight chandeliers made of cotton spindles by a Tennessee company. The developers also want to not paint the walls, but must wait for Park Service permission.

In an historic note, he explained that the tower was originally an open water tank for fire suppression.

The center’s 38,000 square-foot second floor already is leased to N-SPARC. Office space is for lease on the first floor.

The past president of the West Point Rotary Club noted that he is half of his company’s workforce with the other half being an accountant. He subs out everything else.

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