Columbia Training School

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Columbia Training School
Established 1916
Opened 1918
Closed 2008
Current Status Closed
Building Style Cottage Plan
Location Columbia, MS
Alternate Names
  • Mississippi Industrial and Training School


The Mississippi Industrial and Training Institute, later Columbia Training School, was proposed by State Representative J. E. Norwood on January 13, 1916. This bill was signed into law by Governor Theodore G. Bilbo on March 28, 1916. The purpose of the school was to "train delinquent boys and girls who could not properly be dealt with at home or in the public schools". Under the provisions of this act, destitute and abandoned children were also admitted to the school.

The citizens of Marion County donated a 3,100 acre tract of farm land, some of which could be used for timber production, and gave an additional $50,000.00 to help establish the school. The school opened in 1918. The Superintendent's Home is the only major building at the school to survive from its beginning. The majority of the original buildings were demolished in the 1960s and 1970s and replaced with new buildings.

Columbia Training School housed White children of both sexes; the desegregation plan around the 1970s required the state to house male children 15 and older of all races at Oakley, while males 14 and under and females were housed at Columbia. Columbia was closed in 2008, partly due to lawsuits concerning abuse.