Historic building to be new home of USM criminal justice school

USM's School of Criminal Justice getting new home
Published: Sep. 13, 2023 at 8:31 PM CDT
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HATTIESBURG, Miss. (WDAM) -A historic building at the University of Southern Mississippi is being renovated to be the new home of USM’s School of Criminal Justice, Forensic Science and Security.

Renovation work is underway at the Human Performance and Recreation Building, which was built in 1949.

“It was always something we dreamed of as students in the forensic science program, having a new building, so this is awesome,” said Kassidy Bailey, USM criminal justice graduate student. “This is going to really provide a lot more space and opportunities for us in general.”

More than $16 million in state funds are being used for the project.

Until recently, the building housed USM’s School of Kinesiology and Nutrition, but that school has made the move to Joseph Green Hall.

Faculty, staff and students in the School of Criminal Justice, Forensic Science and Security hope to move into the Human Performance and Recreation Building by the fall of 2025.

The school is currently based in the much smaller Arthell Kelley Hall.

“We have three labs in our building now, we’re going to have more labs, the lab space is going to be larger, which will allow us to accommodate more students, more sections of different labs,” said Kristi Johnson, an instructor of forensic science at USM.

Southern Miss is putting up about $570,000 for the project.

The work includes the construction of a large annex that will serve as an academic courtroom.

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