July 28, 2014  

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College Hall to Reopen Fall Semester After Major Renovation Project

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A worker puts the finishing touches on an exterior window as part of the renovation project at College Hall on The University of Southern Mississippi campus. (University Communications photo by Van Arnold)

Work to restore one of the original structures on The University of Southern Mississippi’s Hattiesburg campus to its former glory is in the final stages.

College Hall, built in 1912, will re-open during the fall 2013 semester and serve as home to its new occupant, the School of Mass Communication and Journalism. Campus radio station WUSM-FM and The Student Printz student newspaper will also call College Hall home after being housed in Southern Hall for several decades.

Over the last 100 years, College Hall has hosted classes, department offices and even the university’s first library and auditorium. Renovation of the building blends modern technology, such as LED lighting and other energy-efficient infrastructure, along with revival of the building’s 20th century architectural style, said project manager Joel Lucero.

“I think it looks spectacular,” Lucero said. “I’ve been with the project since its inception, working with the architects and contractor, and it has run smoothly with minimal change orders. When it’s finished I believe it will be a great melding of old and new.”

The south entrance, previously blocked by a mechanical room, will be accessible and several windows bricked in decades ago are back, along with arch-shaped windows above the entrances on the east and west sides of the building.A staircase on the west end, part of the original structure, has been restored and landscaping of the building’s grounds will be included.

The contractor for the project is W.G. Yates & Sons Construction Company, with architectural services provided by Dale Partners Architects P.A. The overall projected cost of the renovation is $6.3 million.

“We’re very excited about moving into College Hall,” said Dr. Chris Campbell, director of the school, who praised the restoration. “An excellent job has been done to preserve the building’s original architectural details, while giving it the contemporary infrastructure to serve the needs of our students and faculty.”

Campbell, along with the USM Foundation andSouthern Miss Vice President for Advancement Bob Pierce, are reaching out to Southern Miss supporters, including alumni of the school, to back fundraising efforts for new furniture and equipment for the building as well as scholarships for the school’s students.

“Our School of Mass Communication and Journalism is on the rise, and its relocation to College Hall will further enhance the school’s standing and reputation,” Pierce said. “We look forward to featuring this incredible campus icon once the renovation is complete, and engaging alumni and other potential donors to increase the school’s resources so it can continue giving students the academic experience needed to succeed in industry and life,” Pierce said.

For more information on how to support the School of Mass Communication and Journalism, contact the school at 601.266.4258; to learn more about the school’s degree programs and the work of its faculty, online visit www.usm.edu/mcj.