USM School of Criminal Justice, Forensic Science and Security Slated for New Home on Hattiesburg Campus
Tue, 09/12/2023 - 09:18am | By: Van Arnold
Faculty, staff and students in the School of Criminal Justice, Forensic Science and Security at The University of Southern Mississippi (USM) can point to a bright future that includes a spacious new home on the Hattiesburg campus.
Located in the tight quarters of Arthell Kelley Hall since the mid-1970s, the school is slated for a move into the Human Performance and Recreation Building, which formerly housed the School of Kinesiology and Nutrition. Renovation and construction are already underway on the $16.6 million project that has an anticipated completion date of June 2025.
“The faculty and staff of the School of Criminal Justice, Forensic Science and Security are so excited that renovations have begun,” said School Director Dr. Brenda Rowe. “Moving into our new building will provide much needed additional faculty and staff office space, dedicated conference rooms, additional classroom space, and increased lab space for our Forensic Science labs.”
Plans also call for construction of a 5,000-square-foot annex to the current building for use as an academic courtroom. More than 500 students are currently enrolled in the Criminal Justice, Forensic Science and Security programs.
“The courtroom addition will be a great benefit to our school, as it will facilitate the incorporation of expert witness testimony and mock trial simulations into classes to help prepare our students for their future roles in the criminal justice system,” said Rowe. “The courtyard will also provide space for students to gather when collaborating with classmates or having lunch with friends. The School of Criminal Justice, Forensic Science and Security greatly appreciates the investment the University is making in our school’s future.”
Brian Hauff, Associate Vice President for Facilities Planning and Management at USM, explains that the majority of the project’s funding is provided through legislative appropriations. Approximately $570,000 of the total budget stems from university funds.
Originally constructed in 1949 as a women's gymnasium, the facility was last renovated in 1988, after which it became known as the Human Performance and Recreation Building.
“Renovation of this facility will significantly enhance the teaching and learning spaces of the School of Criminal Justice, Forensic Science and Security,” said Hauff. “Our team is dedicated to ensuring that this project proceeds efficiently, with minimal disruption to the daily operations of the Hattiesburg campus.”
Hauff points out that plans for Arthell Kelley Hall have yet to be determined.
Dr. Edward Sayre, Executive Associate Dean in the College of Arts and Sciences at USM, notes that the expanded space will provide opportunities to shine a spotlight on programs offered by the school.
“We are all very excited about this new space becoming a real showcase for the extraordinary programs in the School of Criminal Justice, Forensic Science and Security,” said Sayre. “It will help highlight the excellent work of our students, staff, and faculty. The school has long needed an upgraded space as their program directly interact with and affect the local community by training our future law enforcement professionals in a variety of disciplines.”
Learn more about the School of Criminal Justice, Forensic Science and Security by calling 601.266.4509.