A $6.3 million renovation of The University of Southern Mississippi’s College Hall is underway, with university officials eagerly anticipating the project bringing the nearly century-old building back to its original grandeur. The historic structure will be home to the School of Mass Communication and Journalism once work is completed, possibly by spring 2013.
The renovation, which is a State Bureau of Buildings project, is being funded with state bond monies. Construction/renovation work is being done by Yates Construction, with design by Dale and Associates architectural firm. Access to the building is restricted while renovation work takes place, which continues through the upcoming holiday break.
“We’re excited about this move, especially the opportunity to have all of our operations under one roof and to see this grand old building, which holds dear memories for so many of the university’s alumni, revitalized,” said Dr. Chris Campbell, director of the School of Mass Communication and Journalism.
College Hall is one of the five original buildings at the university’s Hattiesburg campus, along with Forrest County Hall, Hattiesburg Hall, the president’s home (now the Ogletree Alumni House) and the industrial cottage for women. It was built at a cost of $150,000 and opened in 1913. In its early days, College Hall was home to then Mississippi Normal College’s academic departments, library, classrooms, faculty offices and the president’s office, along with an auditorium located on the third floor.
After the building’s renovations have concluded, it will house classrooms and offices on the first floor; classrooms, offices, a digital photo laboratory, photo studio and two computer labs on the second floor; and the Student Media Center, which will include the “Student Printz”newspaper; radio station WUSM-FM; The Agency at Southern Miss; and South City Records on the third floor.
The School of Mass Communication and Journalism currently shares Southern Hall with the Department of Mathematics and has video production facilities in McCain Library and McLemore Hall.
“I’m looking forward to seeing the historical integrity of the building restored,” said Dr. Chris Crenshaw, director of the Southern Miss Physical Plant. “College Hall is one of the university’s original buildings and we’re excited to bring improvements that will ensure another 100 years of service.”
For more information about the School of Mass Communication and Journalism, online visit www.usm.edu/mcj