Res. Life renovates USM housing
Published: Wednesday, August 22, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, August 22, 2012 23:08
The University of Southern Mississippi Department of Residence Life has been working non-stop on renovations and plans for future residence halls on campus, and students are taking notice.
Female residents in Hillcrest Hall this fall were greeted with a face-lift to the building, the first construction the building had seen since its completion in 1965.
Scott Blackwell, director of Residence Life, said exterior windows were replaced and the 225 dorm rooms received fresh paint on the walls and ceilings. Tiles in common areas were replaced with a laminate flooring that resembles wood but has an easier, cheaper upkeep, Blackwell said.
Heather Chopin, a first-year Hillcrest resident and sophomore from Petal, said she was shocked when she walked in and saw the new flooring in the dormitory.
“I feel more at home in Hillcrest now because of the new renovations to the building,” Chopin said. “It feels as if I can truly call this my home away from home.”
Other residence halls across campus also received some updates, which Residence Life feels will please students.
In Hickman Hall, the headquarters of Residence Life and housing for 60 guests on campus, students who are wheelchair bound can now easily access the laundry room, which was also renovated this summer. Bolton Hall welcomed a new sprinkler system, while Wilbur Hall residents had the option to select to live in the campus’s first-ever 800 square foot studio rooms. Century Park residents will also have access to a new convenience store named University Market that has been added to the southeast corner of the Learning Center.
Blackwell added that he’s pleased the residence halls are currently at full capacity, with 3,400 booked residents living on campus this year. He said Residence Life will soon address the students currently on the wait list to get into housing.
Blackwell said students can expect to see a lot more coming from Residence Life in the upcoming months, including the demolition of Scott, Vann and east Bond halls. The project includes plans for a new set of residence halls and a three-acre grassy area.
Chris Crenshaw, director of the physical plant, said the construction in that area will be an “iconic addition to the Southern Miss campus.”
Blackwell said the summer of 2014 is the estimated opening date of the three-building housing complex to be named Century Park South. The complex will house 950 students and replace the area known as the “freshman quad.”
With the opening of Century Park South, there will be a 230-bed increase that will help accommodate the 3 percent enrollment adjustment the university has seen.