Preliminary design plans are taking shape for a new School of Nursing (SON) building at The University of Southern Mississippi.
With $1.5 million in federal grant money already in hand, university officials have selected a site and architect for the proposed 52,000-square foot facility. The cost of completion is estimated at $22 million but no timeline has been established yet for construction and further funding for that portion of the project is yet to be determined.
Dr. Katherine Nugent, director of the School of Nursing at Southern Miss, said a new facility would address two critical issues -- the need for more space in the SON department and the shortage of nurses on the state and national levels.
“I am excited that we are in the design phase for the future SON building on the Hattiesburg campus,” said Nugent. “The current building is inadequate to accommodate the increased student undergraduate and graduate enrollment.”
“There is a critical shortage of nurses across the country and we’re addressing that shortage at Southern Miss with new programs that were implemented in response to workforce needs in health care and the increased use of technology, such as patient simulators, in teaching. A new building would certainly enable us to better accommodate expanded enrollment in our program.”
The current nursing building was constructed in 1977 and includes just over 37,000 square feet. “We have literally run out of space,” said Nugent.
Funding for the design phase of the project was provided through the 2009 Labor, Health and Human Services Education Appropriations bill. Southern Miss received approval from the state Institutions of Higher Learning (IHL) board to proceed with the project in September.
Discussions are underway with Allred Architect Group of Pascagoula about design options for the new building which will be located in the northwest quadrant of a parking lot on the corner of Ross Boulevard and Montague Street.
Rusty Postlewate, Physical Plant director at Southern Miss, said that notification of the university’s intent to build was published in statewide newspapers for seven days (Oct. 22-28) in accordance with requirements attached to the grant.
“As part of the grant application we had to give public notice to allow time for the gathering of any comments on our intention to build,” he said.
Postlewate emphasized that his department would not become heavily involved in the project until the design concepts had been thoroughly vetted.
“We’re in the very early stages of this process right now,” he said. “The timetable for construction is anybody’s guess right now because funding for that phase will no doubt come from multiple sources.”
About The University of Southern Mississippi
The University of Southern Mississippi, founded in 1910, is a comprehensive doctoral and research-extensive university fulfilling its mission of being a leading university in engaging and empowering individuals to transform lives and communities. In a tradition of leadership for student development, Southern Miss is educating a 21st century work force providing intellectual capital, cultural enrichment and innovation to Mississippi and the world. Southern Miss is located in Hattiesburg, Miss., with an additional campus and teaching and research sites on the Mississippi Gulf Coast; further information is found at www.usm.edu.