marketing and public relations
click here for the news highlights
click here for all news releases
click here for contacts
click here to read our functions
click here for the experts guide
click here for our home page
click here to subscribe to news by email
click here for the southern miss home page
click here for licensing
style guide
graphics standards
Released April 19, 2004


By Christopher Mapp

HATTIESBURG - Foliage isn't the only thing in bloom this spring at The University of Southern Mississippi. Currently, multiple construction sites are blossoming on campus despite months of unseasonably heavy rains.

"They say 'April showers bring flowers,' but it started raining in December and hasn't quit," said Tommy Rocconi, major projects coordinator for the Southern Miss Physical Plant. Still, things are "trucking right along," he said.

The majority of the sites occupy a three-block area that includes the new Student Life Center, the International Center and an addition to the Shelby Thames Polymer Science Research Center.

Also in the final phase of its construction is the 3-D Art Building on West Fourth Street, due for completion in late July.

While rain delays have "hampered things somewhat," project manager Rita Hailey-Burks said construction on the 5,790-square-foot 3-D Art building has remained on schedule. When finished, the building will serve as studio classrooms for all functions of the 3-D art program and will be equipped with high-quality tools and work stations. Hailey-Burks said the building's foundation has been established and workers are in the process of "closing in the frame."

Work on the $6 million addition to the Shelby Thames Polymer Science Research Center is also in advanced stages, Rocconi said. Due for completion in early fall, piping and metal studs are currently being installed in the building. "As soon as the windows and doors go in, we can start with the sheet rock and other finishes that don't require painting," he said.

Due in July 2004, the new International Center is a $7.9 million project that will allow the College of International and Continuing Education to bring under one roof a variety of academic, programmatic and administrative units.

Located adjacent to the Liberal Arts Building on the west side of campus, the International Center will be 42,000 square feet and have five floors in all when finished. It now has three complete slabs, with columns for the fourth and fifth floors under construction.

Work on the new $47 million Student Life Center began this year when McClesky and McMillin halls were razed to make room for the first phase of one of the largest construction projects in the university's history.

At a cost of $30 million, the first phase is scheduled to take three years to complete. The second phase, at a cost of $17 million, is expected to be completed in another five years.

The first phase will include a student dining facility, bookstore, textbook center, food service offices, underground docks, ballroom and technology atrium and a presidential suite containing conference and dining rooms.

The second phase will include completion of the shelled-in space cited in Phase I, plus student and administrative offices, Seymour's food court, two atriums, a study and TV lounge, lease space and a computer lounge and game room.

Despite steady rains during the last two months, workers have been able to clear out earth and install pilings, which paves the way for grade beams and foundational slabs, said David Anderson, associate vice president for facilities, construction and real estate. Most of the underground utilities have already been installed.

Anderson said if the weather holds, workers can make up for "a lot of lost time."

"The structural part really goes quick if there's no rain," he said, adding that contractors factor into their schedule an expected amount of "rain days."

Other construction projects currently underway, nearing completion or in the planning stages:

* The $3.5 million Hydrographic Science Center at Stennis Space Center in Hancock County.

* Landscape projects at the Gulf Park campus, including sewage, reroofing, street, drainage and electrical projects.

* Handicap accessible entranceway, foyer and elevator on the north side of the Hattiesburg campus' Bond Hall, to be completed this month.

* The George A. Knauer Marine Science Laboratory and CHL's Visualization Laboratory are scheduled for completion in July at Stennis Space Center.

* Expansion of the Gulf Coast Research Laboratory's marine shrimp farming program at Cedar Point includes four new buildings completed and in use and a fifth that is under construction. A new $1.2 million marine aquaculture interpretive facility is in the planning stages.


OCEAN SPRINGS -- Award-winning wildlife photographer Tom Ulrich will lead two photographic events at the Gulf Coast Research Laboratory on Wednesday, March 10.

He will present a nature photography workshop from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and then a talk and slide show called "Wildlife Images 2003" at 7 p.m., both at The University of Southern Mississippi GCRL.

Admission to the evening event is free and will be held in the Caylor Auditorium at GCRL. The veteran photographer will feature photos from his 2003 photographic safaris abroad and in North America. He will answer questions and sign his books during the reception following his slide show.

The registration fee for the all-day workshop is $50 per person, payable to GCRL. Registration includes a continental breakfast, light lunch and snacks. Participation is limited to 20. Though the workshop is geared toward beginners, Ulrich tailors the experience to meet needs for all degrees of skill.

"The beginners will definitely benefit from the workshop, but I always help the more advanced get something out of it also," Ulrich said. "I lead many photo trips and always find a wide range of levels."

Ulrich said participants do not need to bring their photographic equipment unless they need an explanation about some aspect of their equipment.

Topics include a brief review of the principles of photography, relationships between shutter and aperture settings, fundamental elements of composition, use and timing of fill-in flash, digital versus film photography, techniques of close-up photography, and a brief discussion of slide etiquette, the photography business and marketing.

Ulrich grew up in South Chicago, graduated with a degree in biology from Southern Illinois University and taught for four years before launching his career as a freelance photographer. He has supported himself with nature photography for the past 29 years.

His library of more than 300,000 transparencies includes birds and mammals from all over the world. His photographs have been featured in publications such as National Wildlife, Audubon, National Geographic, Montana Outdoors and Life.

He has published six nature books, including Mammals of the Rockies, Birds of the Northern Rockies, Once Upon a Frame and his 2002 release, Photo Pantanal. Dr. William E. Hawkins, GCRL executive director, said Ulrich brings the scientific and artistic worlds together.

"Tom earns his living photographing wildlife all over the world," Hawkins sad. "He is an outstanding observer and a biologist. His approach to photography is to capture his subjects exhibiting their natural behavior."

The GCRL is home to the university's Department of Coastal Sciences, the Center for Fisheries Research and Development, and the Gulf Coast Geospatial Center. The J.L. Scott Marine Education Center and Aquarium is also a unit of the laboratory. The GCRL is part of the Southern Miss College of Science and Technology. For more information, call the laboratory at (228) 872-4200.


to the top


This page is maintained by the Department of Marketing and Public Relations at
The University of Southern Mississippi at
Comments and suggestions are welcome; direct them to
URL for this page is
April 20, 2004 4:09 PM