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Released July 12, 2004


HATTIESBURG -- Representatives from two furniture distributors displayed examples of their products to University of Southern Mississippi students, faculty and staff Monday during a presentation at the R.C. Cook University Union. University officials are considering purchasing new furniture to improve classrooms, faculty offices and conference rooms, among other areas.

Mike Fitzgerald of Chromcraft in Senatobia and Mike Kuykendal of Commercial Business Interiors of Hattiesburg explained the advantages of their products, which included examples of student chairs, tablet-arm chairs, instructor chairs, conference room chairs and a student learning table, among other furniture products.

The chair designs Chromcraft offers are constructed to adapt to the shape of the user. "It's made in Mississippi," Fitzgerald said of his product line. "It's not generic; it's more progressive and contemporary and meets the needs of the student."

Kuykendal said his product line is built for long-term use. "We want the product to be low maintenance," he said. "We believe our products are durable, and they've held up well for us."

The issue of inadequate furniture in some university classrooms was discussed at a recent meeting of the Southern Miss President's Council, after which university president Dr. Shelby Thames asked Southern Miss associate provost Dr. Cynthia Moore to craft a plan to replace existing furniture with new furniture that meets the needs of students and faculty.

Moore said the savings the university has accumulated through streamlining administrative costs and focusing on budget efficiency over the last two years are providing the opportunity to consider new furniture purchases.

"We can look at the possibility of taking some of these savings and reinvesting them in the classroom," Moore said.

"The classroom setting should be first-class in order to deliver a quality education to our students," said Dr. Lou Marciani, director of the Southern Miss School of Human Performance and Recreation. "Doing this is a move in the right direction."


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July 23, 2004 10:33 AM