The University of Southern Mississippi will host the formal ribbon-cutting ceremony for the re-opening of College Hall Friday, Oct. 25, at 2 p.m. The building underwent a $6 million renovation and restoration over the last two years and is now home of the School of Mass Communication and Journalism. Tours of the building will be conducted following the ceremony.
“This is a historic time for the School of Mass Communication and Journalism,” said Dr. Chris Campbell, the school’s director. “The renovation went very well, and College Hall is going to make a great home for us. We think it will dramatically raise the school’s profile and allow us to continue to grow and to attract great faculty and students.”
The ceremony will also allow the University Foundation to jump start The Campaign for Mass Comm, a fundraising initiative related to the College Hall renovation.
“Two days after we publicly announced the campaign last February, the tornado struck, and our efforts were appropriately re-directed,” said Bob Pierce, vice president for advancement. “But we have made some progress, and the ribbon-cutting will allow us to update supporters and to re-energize the campaign, which has extraordinary potential.”
The first two floors of the building include faculty and administrative offices, five classrooms, two computer labs, a digital photo lab and photo studio. The building’s third floor houses the school’s student media operations, including the campus newspaper, The Student Printz, WUSM-FM, a recording studio, television studio and offices for other student media operations.
The building features energy-saving features like double-pane glass and lights that go off automatically when rooms aren’t in use. The associate director for the University Physical Plant, Joel Lucero, says the renovated building is a model for how the university’s original buildings can be re-purposed for the future.
“College Hall was the original academic building on campus, and it housed classrooms, offices, the library and the president’s office. The third floor was an auditorium,” Lucero said. “Over the years, the building underwent several renovations and served as the home of multiple academic departments and university administrative offices.
"It’s going to be a great space for the School of Mass Communication and Journalism.”
Dale Partners of Jackson served as the project’s architects, led by Matt Brilley. Beau DuBose managed the project for Yates Construction, the contractor.
Campbell said the building will allow mass communication and journalism students to work in a real-world setting outside of the classroom. “We expect the third floor will be a 24-7 operation, with students working at the Printz, radio station and in the TV and recording studios. Learning to work collaboratively in a setting like this is going to make them very marketable when they graduate.”