MSU President Dr. Mark Keenum was in Meridian to announce the donation of $4.5 million to the university by The Riley Foundation.
The $4.5 million includes the Newberry Building in downtown Meridian, which will be the new home of the MSU Meridian Division of Business. That will open up some room at the main MSU Meridian campus.
"This expansion allows us room. We've been really crowded for the last three or four years," said Dr. Jack Tucci, dean of MSU Meridian. "This will give us new classroom space and additional office space for the new faculty we've hired."
Dr. Keenum says the Newberry Building renovations could take up to two years to complete.
"We now start the process of soliciting bids for architectural design and restructuring within the building," said Keenum. "Then we'll advertise for contractors to submit bids to do the actual work. Our estimates are that we're probably looking anywhere from a year and a half to two years before the building will be ready to be occupied and up for classes."
Officials say this is good for Meridian and Lauderdale County. It even helps the economy by bringing the students into downtown Meridian.
"I had the privilege of meeting with Dr. Keenum about three months ago, and we talked about moving Meridian forward together," said Mayor Cheri Barry. "This is just the first step. I think you're going to see things booming in the city of Meridian. We have lots of opportunities that will be opening up."