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Via djournal.com

A new three-lane drive-thru is under construction at BancorpSouth’s downtown headquarters building at One Mississippi Plaza, with work expected to be finished by the end of May.

The current drive-thru, built in 1978, is a detached building on the south end of the parking lot, but the new facility connects to the main building. It also will have a 24-hour ATM.

Once the new drive-thru opens, BancorpSouth employees and customers will have to make some adjustments to the way they’ve been entering and exiting the parking lot as well as using the old drive-thru.

“We’ve taken a look at the traffic patterns and created two new entrances and one exit that will allow the traffic to flow more smoothly,” said Gary Sparkman, senior vice president of BancorpSouth’s Tupelo Banking Division. “We don’t anticipate any traffic disruptions. We expect to serve the same amount of clients as we have in the past.”

The old drive-thru building will be demolished, making way for additional parking spaces, Sparkman said. The parking lot also will be resurfaced and re-striped.

Pneumatic tube systems and video screens will be installed at the new drive-thru, and according to BancorpSouth, the remote transaction services will provide for a “more efficient use of staffing resources.”

The new design and operation also will provide more security by eliminating the need for staff to work from a detached facility.

Ketra Ruff, first vice president and retail manager of the Tupelo Banking Division who oversees the teller staff, said tellers inside the main bank office will provide service to customers at the drive-thru, talking to them via the video screens.

With banking hours available 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday to Thursday and an extra hour longer on Friday, BancorpSouth has 26 employees inside the downtown office to serve its customers.

More than 180 employees are located at the main office, including mortgage and lending officers.

“The downtown office is a very important part of our footprint,” said Mark Burleson, president of BancorpSouth’s Northeast Mississippi Division. “And with everything going on in Tupelo, with all the different arts, recreation and shopping, there’s more vehicle and foot traffic in the area, we hope this project will help enhance the downtown area.”

BancorpSouth has finished 26 other drive-thru projects in its eight-state footprint, concluding four in Northeast Mississippi.

dennis.seid@journalinc.com