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MSU could take ownership of Grand Opera House soon

By By Ben Alexander/The Meridian Star
July 11, 2001
An ownership transfer of The Grand Opera House of Mississippi to Mississippi State University could occur within weeks a move that would bring the Riley Education and Performing Arts Center closer to reality.
Dr. Bev Norment, dean of MSU-Meridian Campus, said the delay in the transfer has been caused by a delay in city and county funding for the $26 million project.
Norment said officials of The Riley Foundation, who donated $10 million toward the project, wanted to be certain all funds were in place before moving forward with the transfer of property. The property will ultimately be transferred from the board of trustees of the Grand Opera House of Mississippi, to The Riley Foundation, and then to MSU.
The city is providing $7 million, the county $3 million.
Once the transfer is complete, MSU officials will begin meeting to decide what architectural firms will handle the project. University officials expect to work on designs for eight to 12 months. Actual construction and renovation efforts are expected to take up to two years.
Ben Alexander is a staff writer for The Meridian Star. Call him at 693-1551, ext. 3226, or e-mail him at balexander@themeridianstar.com.