- Associated Press - Sunday, October 26, 2014

MERIDIAN, Miss. (AP) - The Kress Building in downtown Meridian is being renovated to house the kinesiology program for the local campus of Mississippi State University.

“Personally, I am looking forward to our kinesiology program being the marquee program here at MSU Meridian. And that is my personal aspiration that I have for the particular program,” project coordinator Benjamin Wax told WTOK-TV in Meridian (http://bit.ly/1sUgBUb ).

Kinesiology focuses on the science of muscular movements.

Wax said kinesiology has been one of the fastest growing departments and the new facility will only continue to increase student interest.

The program is supported by an $11 million grant from the Riley Foundation.

The new building will house teaching labs, research labs, offices, state-of-the-art classrooms, new technology for students and another library, with help from the Phil Hardin Foundation.

Mayor Percy Bland said the project is part of an ongoing idea is to bring all of Main Street to life - to have more businesses and more opportunities to get people downtown, exploring Meridian.

“Now, we’ll have the kinesiology program and the business program for Mississippi State right here downtown, create some activity, we have some new restaurants coming downtown,” Bland said. “We just want to continue to create momentum and more activity for downtown.”

The renovations should be complete no later than fall of 2015.

The Kress Building was constructed in 1905. The three-story structure is on the National Register of Historic Places.

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Information from: WTOK-TV, http://www.wtok.com

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