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USM Enhancing Engagement with Renovated Stadium Plaza

Thu, 07/23/2020 - 15:33pm | By: Van Arnold

Photo of the stadium plaza constructionRenovation is well underway on a highly visible and much-traveled area of The University of Southern Mississippi’s Hattiesburg campus that will create another level of engagement for students, faculty, staff and visitors.

The University Union/Stadium Plaza located on the West side of M.M. Roberts Stadium is being overhauled to enhance football gameday experiences at The Rock, while providing an appealing courtyard for the campus community. The $2.4 million project, approved by the state IHL Board, is scheduled for completion by September.

Dr. Denny Bubrig, Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs at USM, notes that the plaza renovation project sprang from discussions within the University community regarding the need for an upgrade to the space.

“Spatially, the plaza is a high visible, centrally located option that has supported small-scale programming in the recent past, and we felt like we could do better,” said Bubrig. “On completion of the Joe Paul Theater, we were looking for the next project and many pointed this way as not only a prime student engagement area, but also a front door to USM for many of the greater USM community.”

Key features of the renovated plaza include:

· Installation of a stage area to accommodate live musical entertainment

· Seven 25-foot X 50-foot banners featuring iconic scenes from the Hattiesburg campus

· A ramp and seating wall

· Increased lighting

· Digital wayfinding

· Covered bicycle racks

· Significant increase in outdoor seating

The project’s highlight will be a customized Golden Eagle head logo made from colored brick pavers assembled like a jigsaw puzzle at the center of the plaza walkway.

“This is an exciting project for the university. The renovation of this plaza will provide for a plethora of student engagement activities, create aesthetically pleasing outdoor

seating and dining areas and enhance the Southern Miss gameday experience,” said Dr. Chris Crenshaw, Senior Associate Vice President for Facilities Planning and Management. “I am really looking forward to our students, faculty, staff and fans being able to enjoy this courtyard once it is completed.”

Bubrig says new projects like the plaza renovation help elevate the student experience at USM.

“Absolutely it does. There are so many possibilities that exist with new construction projects like the anticipation and the capacity to think creatively,” said Bubrig. “Or simply just to dream a little and grow exponentially on all fronts – especially the student programming part.”