Housing Feasibility Study Frequently Asked Questions
Click here to submit your feedback regarding the Housing Feasibility Study for the Gulf Park campus.
Q: I thought the University’s Gulf Park campus was not allowed to have student housing. Did something change?
A: The University of Southern Mississippi is committed to meeting the needs of all students, and as such, we continue to explore avenues to improve access to higher education and enhance student success on each of our campuses.
The University’s Office of General Counsel has conducted extensive research and found no statute or restrictive covenant that would prevent the construction of residential facilities on the Gulf Park campus. At this time, the University is evaluating financing options to determine the feasibility of housing on the Gulf Park campus.
Q: Why now? What prompted recent action on this topic?
A: The topic of student housing on the coast has been part of conversations in the community for decades. The University found no recent records of an organized effort to investigate and answer the question of whether there is adequate demand for student residential facilities on the Gulf Park campus – and whether building such facilities is financially feasible for the University or the community.
To investigate and answer whether there is adequate demand, an 11-person ad hoc Housing Feasibility Study committee of University officials and community members was established in late 2015. This committee has worked together for more than a year and, to date, their work included the following: 1) selecting an external vendor to conduct a market demand analysis exploring the need for housing at Gulf Park, 2) reviewing data from the market demand analysis, and 3) providing recommendations to University President Rodney D. Bennett on potential next steps in the process.
Q: If this project moves forward, what is the timeline for constructing a facility?
A: After potential funding models are thoroughly explored, the Board of Trustees for the State Institutions of Higher Learning (IHL) would need to approve the project and the funding model that is to be used. This approval is required prior to the University establishing a project timeline.
Q: I live in close proximity to the Gulf Park campus in Long Beach. How would this potentially impact me?
A: The University has worked to establish strong relationships with the City of Long Beach. If this project moves forward, the University will work with Long Beach officials to ensure that the campus and surrounding community maintains a high quality of city services and public safety.
Q: What are the plans for ensuring there is adequate parking on campus?
A: Parking is continually a part of the dialogue surrounding college and university campuses across the nation. The Gulf Park Campus Master Plan’s mobility network outlines future plans for pedestrian, bicycle, transit and vehicular networks. In addition, the plan relocates parking from the campus core to lots on the periphery of campus. Efficiently designed parking lots located on Chimney’s Pass and Beach Park Place provide additional parking spaces in convenient and easily-navigated locations within walking distance of campus buildings.
Q: Adding student housing facilities to the Gulf Park campus would likely increase campus enrollment, campus activity, etc. How does the University plan to handle the growth?
A: We have experienced recent growth in enrollment on the state’s only beachfront campus and we look forward to celebrating more growth in the coming years. Since 2014, the Gulf Park campus has added additional services to meet the needs of our student population. These additions include Fitness Center and Health Center facilities, which are located on Beach Park Place. Career Services and expanded student life programming opportunities have also been added. A new multi-use academic building is currently under construction that will provide several classrooms, study rooms and conference rooms of various sizes. Planning is underway for future facilities that will provide dedicated space for student services that help support student success on campus.
Q: Where would such a facility be located on the Gulf Park campus?
A: Potential development space for residential housing has been identified in the recently completed Gulf Park Campus Master Plan. This space is in the west portion of the campus, north of the Science Building.
Q: How much would it cost to build a residential facility on the Gulf Park campus?
A: Based on the recommended size of the project identified through the market demand analysis, the project costs could range between $9-11 million.
Q: If this project moves forward, what type of facility would be constructed? How big would it be?
A: Any plans created for a residential housing facility would fit the current landscape and architectural style found on the Gulf Park campus. Based on data from the market demand analysis and estimated construction costs, the facility would likely house 125 to 150 beds.
Q: Would this particular project cause an increase in tuition?
A: We anticipate this project would be self-financing, paid for by housing fees charged to the facility’s residents. Construction of a student residential facility on the Gulf Park campus would not cause a tuition increase.
Q: Is IHL aware of this process?
A: Yes, the Commissioner of Higher Education and members of the Board of Trustees for the State Institutions of Higher Learning (IHL) have been informed of the Housing Feasibility Study Committee’s work and will continue to be engaged as the process moves forward.
Click here to view the most recent Housing Feasibility Study message.