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Released March 2, 2005

ON-CAMPUS HOUSING CHANGES TO MEET STUDENTS' NEEDS

Hattiesburg– Sorority housing will have a new look soon on the Hattiesburg campus of The University of Southern Mississippi. A 252-bed Sorority Village will be located on a portion of the current Pine Haven property and will cost approximately $13 million. Sororities will finance the project through their individual and chapter room rentals.

At the conclusion of the summer 2005 semester, the university will begin downsizing the Pine Haven Family Housing complex. Of the 296 apartments 128 will be removed to make space for the new residence hall. Currently, 90 students occupy the 128 units. Those affected students will be accommodated by being moved to the remaining 168 units or through a lease agreement between the university and adjacent apartments.

"All students and their families who currently reside in Pine Haven will be accommodated," stated Lorinda Krhut, director of Residence Life at Southern Miss. "Pine Haven has served us well for 45 years, but the facility is in such a condition now that it is beyond repair. The replacement cost for Pine Haven would be in excess of $25 million, which is well beyond our reach; thus, the plan is to phase out the Pine Haven area over time."

When the Pine Haven complex was constructed 1960, Krhut said, there was no other housing available for students with families. "We believe the external housing market now provides affordable housing for our students with families. Maintaining 168 units at Pine Haven will allow us to accommodate all of our current residents' needs and see how the external housing market responds to our student family needs," she added.

Wilbur Hall, which currently houses sorority women, will be renovated and converted to freshman housing, which is an area of expansive growth for the university. Enrollment at Southern Miss increased again during the 2004-05 academic year, resulting in the largest freshman class in the university's history. Dr. Joe Paul, vice president for student affairs, said, "The university has bold plans for freshman housing. Converting the current Panhellenic building to freshman housing brings exciting possibilities for creating a full freshman quad, and the unique chapter rooms in the Panhellenic building can be converted to learning support space and freshman classrooms, which will help us develop a living and learning community."

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April 14, 2005 12:59 PM