October 24, 2014  

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MDOT Presents Check to Help with Construction of New Pedestrian Pathway

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Southern Miss President Rodney D. Bennett, left, accepts a check from Southern District Highway Commissioner Tom King during a special presentation held Wednesday, June 4 on the Hattiesburg campus. (Photo by Danny Rawls)

The University of Southern Mississippi’s plan to build a new pedestrian pathway on the Hattiesburg campus received a major boost on Wednesday, June 4 when Southern District Highway Commissioner Tom King presented a check for $683,560 to the University.

Southern Miss President Rodney D. Bennett accepted the check provided by the Mississippi Department of Transportation as part of a grant which originated through Transportation Alternative Program funds distributed by the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act. The grant is an 80/20 match – meaning that MDOT contributes $683,560 toward construction of the new pathway, while Southern Miss pays approximately $171,000.

“This is a great day for Southern Miss, but an especially important day for our students who will benefit immensely from this new pedestrian pathway,” said Bennett. “This pathway will provide a safe environment for our students as they travel through that portion of campus.”

The proposed pathway will extend approximately 1,400 feet, establishing a link between Scianna Hall and Pride Field. The pedestrian corridor will run along the front entrance to Century Park South – a new residential complex nearing completion.

“This just feels right,” said King upon presentation of the check. “This project will further enhance the Southern Miss campus while making pedestrian traffic safer for everyone. At the Mississippi Department of Transportation, we are all about safety, and I know the administration at Southern Miss feels the same way.”

The project is being designed and managed by Neel-Schaffer Inc. Construction is expected to begin this fall with an estimated completion timetable of 18 months.

“Over the last three years, Commissioner King and the Mississippi Department of Transportation have awarded the University with more than $1.7 million, allowing us to construct our Fence and Landscape Project, the Armstrong Branch Plaza and now the Pride Field to Scianna Hall Pedestrian Pathway,” said Dr. Chris Crenshaw, assistant vice president for facilities planning and management. “We are forever grateful for their continued support in making our campus safe and easy to navigate for all faculty, staff, students and visitors."