Mississippi State University breaks ground Tuesday [May 28] for a new 35,000 square-foot furniture manufacturing and management center.
To be located at the intersection of Blackjack Road and Locksley Way on the western edge of the Starkville campus, the building will be named for Chickasaw County furniture manufacturer and lead contributor Hassell H. Franklin, founder, president and chief executive officer of the Franklin Corp. A Houston resident and 1959 industrial management graduate, he was MSU's national alumnus of the year in 1995.
The 10 a.m. public ceremony will include remarks by MSU Interim President Charles Lee and Franklin, among others.
A $1 million gift from Franklin is supplementing $3 million the Legislature appropriated for the building last year. Designed by Pryor and Morrow Architects of Jackson and Columbus, the facility will contain research laboratories, classrooms, offices, and an auditorium/distance learning classroom.
"The center also will house the newly created Institute of Furniture Manufacturing and Management,” said Sam Foster, dean of the College of Forest Resources. "The institute is an interdisciplinary program drawing on the strengths of the colleges of Business and Industry, Engineering and Forest Resources, as well as the School of Architecture and MSU's Extension Service.”
Foster, who also directs the Forest and Wildlife Research Center, said some 50,000 Mississippi workers currently produce approximately 70 percent of the nation's upholstered furniture. Research, including frame and design testing, by Forest and Wildlife Research Center scientists is estimated to save the state's manufacturers more than $3 million annually, he added.