HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - Southern Miss administrators, students and supporters gathered Tuesday to officially break ground for the largest construction project in the history of the university. Century Park South residence hall is a $55.6 million project which will be made up of three, five-story buildings and will have 954 beds for freshmen and other scholarship students.
It will also include a new health facility called the Moffitt Health Center and the Luckyday Citizenship Hall. That building will house Luckyday Scholarship students and Luckyday offices.
Two years ago, the Luckyday Foundation donated $4 million toward the project.
Construction actually began a few months ago. Part of the facility will be ready to house students in the fall of 2014.
"Students today really make decisions on college based on a total living/learning experience and facilities play a big part in that," said Dr. Rodney Bennett, USM president. "This facility, Century Park South, will go a long way in helping our students reach their goals academically, as well as progress towards graduation," he said.
"Our program offices and buildings for the program will be housed here, so that there will be a common and central meeting place for all of the Luckyday students," said Holmes Adams, director of the Board of Managers of the Luckyday Foundation.
"We see over 20,000 student visits a year and our old facility was not capable of handling that patient volume in an ongoing fashion," said Dr. Virginia Crawford, director of Student Health Services for USM. "(Moffitt Health Center) is significantly larger. It has 5,000 more square feet than the original facility," she said.
Construction should be finished by January of 2015.