Construction starts on campus fence
Published: Wednesday, January 16, 2013
Updated: Wednesday, January 16, 2013 23:01
Winter break brought many physical changes to the University of Southern Mississippi’s campus, one of the most noticeable being the start of a fence that will surround the perimeter of campus.
The three sections of the fence that have been proposed thus far include from U.S. 49 to the Jazz Lab on Hardy Street, a 4th Street fence extending in front of Century Park, and a U.S. 49 fence stretching from Hardy Street to Felder Street. The fence is a part of the university’s long-range landscaping plan.
The fence panel will stand about six feet tall and will be made of ornamental iron materials. There will be decorative posts, and on the Hardy Street section of the fence, there will flowers and up lighting at each post.
Butch Nobles, owner of Hattiesburg-based Nobles Contracting, said the fence is expected to reach completion in about 45 days.
“The fence project hit a couple of delays whenever the rain hit the area, and the brick we ordered to match the Administration Building and Centennial Gateway on campus was delayed,” Nobles said. “Thankfully, the brick has arrived, and once the weather clears up, the project will be underway full-force again.”
Many have questioned the purpose of the fence and the reasoning behind erecting a fence of this size and caliber around a campus that already feels small.
Joe Paul, Vice President of Student Affairs, said the fence is being constructed in partnership with the Mississippi Department of Transportation (MDOT).
“With the construction of the fence, we hope to funnel pedestrians to the safest places for them to walk on campus as well as protect those who are walking around campus near the busy roads the fence will be lining,” Paul said.
According to Paul, funding for the fence is not coming from the university, but from an MDOT grant.
Reactions from students have been mixed, ranging from anger and confusion to happiness and excitement about construction finally beginning on the fence.
Evan Mathis, a sophomore communications major, said he has not warmed up to the idea of the fence just yet.
“Southern Miss is known for its open and inviting campus, and I’m worried the fence will close campus off and will take away the warm appeal campus presents to visitors and the outside community,” Mathis said.
However, Zach Jones, a senior English major, is excited about the completion of the fence.
“I feel the fence will definitely be very clean and attractive to those viewing campus, so I’m eager to see it when it’s completed,” Jones said. “I’m not sure how much more protection it’ll offer to students, but I do believe it’ll look great.”
As of now, no impacts to the flow of traffic in and around campus are expected because of the fence’s construction.
Paul asked for students and the Hattiesburg community to keep in mind that the construction of the fence and different facilities on campus will help with the beauty of the campus. Paul reminded students, faculty and staff to be patient and willing to work around the construction as changes continue to occur.
“It’s just a messy time of year with the rain and weather and construction, but I personally want to assure the campus that when Founder’s Day arrives, Southern Miss will be looking beautiful,” Paul said.