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Restoration work progresses on Lampton Auditorium columns

Masonry crews worked Thursday to rebuild a severely damaged entrance column at Mary Jane Lampton Auditorium in Brookhaven, while also making upgrades to the undamaged column so the two will match.

A wreck on Dec. 6, 2020, caused the damage to the brick entranceway at the corner of West Cherokee and South Jackson streets. The driver of a 2000 Chevrolet Impala apparently blacked out and his vehicle struck a parked pickup truck before impacting the column on the left of the sidewalk, according to Brookhaven Police Master Sgt. Kevin Thompson.

The historic auditorium sits on the southeast corner of the campus of the Mississippi School of the Arts. MSA Executive Director Suzanne Hirsch posted an appeal on social media for the public’s assistance in helping the school fund the reconstruction of the column. The school’s property insurance had a $500,000 deductible and the school was unable to make enough cuts to fund the rebuild.

Within a couple of days, almost the entire projected cost had been received from willing donors.

“With Brookhaven being Brookhaven, they’ve stepped up,” Hirsch said. “We’ve raised nearly all of the money we think we’re going to need. Our community has come together.”