Picture the Oklahoma State Capitol, with its pumping oil derrick on the front lawn.

Southwest Mississipi Community College probably won’t end up with a derrick in front of the student union or the administration building, but trustees approved oil and gas exploration surveys on school property Tuesday night.

President Dr. Steve Bishop told school trustees that Resource Acquisition Services of Brandon sought permission to perform a geophysical survey  on parts of the college’s 800 acres of land.

“We own 33 acres near Johnston Station, but most of our land is at the campus. A lot was bought to be a buffer from other development, and most of it is in timber,” Bishop said.

Dr. Bill Tucker, the school’s vice president for physical resources, said RAS would have a crew and seismograph on campus, but would not disrupt normal operations.

“They know this is a school, and we can’t have explosions going off during exams,” Tucker said.

The explosions shouldn’t be as noticeable as they once were, he said.

“They’re governed by a board that restricts the energy they can put into the ground based on where they are,” Tucker said. “Those explosions aren’t as strong as they used to be.”

Board president Reggie Jones said he thought the permit agreement should include some restrictions on where and when the company can conduct its surveys, and Bishop concurred.

The board approved the agreement pending the additional language on restrictions and review.

SMCC will receive $4,000 from RAS, which will also be conducting exploratory surveys on North Pike School District’s 16th Section lands and on private land, Bishop said.

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