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Released August 19, 2005

PARKING FEE INCREASE TO FUND FACILITY IMPROVEMENTS
AT SOUTHERN MISS

Hattiesburg– Improvements to existing parking facilities and traffic flow and the acquisition of property for additional parking spaces on The University of Southern Mississippi's Hattiesburg campus will be funded through an increase in the university's annual parking fee.

The new campus parking fee is $50 for all administrators, faculty, staff and students and will take effect in September. University employees will have the option to pay the fee in two $25 increments through payroll deductions in September and January 2006.

Projects cited for funding through the fee increase include restructuring of entrances to campus, an information kiosk in the Freshman Quad area, a welcome parking center and gated parking, a plaza on West Memorial Drive and the acquisition of available property for additional parking spaces, among others.

"These projects are part of the university's plan to move parking to the perimeter of campus and make a more desirable, pedestrian friendly center of campus with a community feel to it," said Gregg Lassen, chief financial officer for Southern Miss. "The enhancements to parking and sidewalks also add to the beauty and enjoyment of the campus."

Lassen said the university's staff council was instrumental in developing the plan to divide the 2005-2006 parking fee payment to lessen its financial impact. University administrators plan to work with the staff council and the university's parking and transportation committee to consider alternative pricing mechanisms next year.

The parking fee increase is the first at Southern Miss in more than 12 years, according to university officials.

"The university has increased parking with 1,200 additional spaces in the last two years, and our plans are to continue this pattern to meet the growing demand for spaces," said Southern Miss Dean of Students Dr. Eddie Holloway. "The funds from this fee increase will allow us to accomplish much needed work to improve campus parking that I believe will benefit all students, faculty and staff."

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September 16, 2005 3:31 PM