Scianna Hall, after over two years of construction, is finally near completion. The building will have “financial center” on the second floor, which will feature a constant stream of the stock market activity.
After breaking ground in 2012, The University of Southern Mississippi’s future home for the College of Business, Scianna Hall, is nearing completion. Expectations for USM’s newest addition are high as the building is expected to yield several positive attributions for business students and the university as a whole.
According to Joel Lucero, associate director for campus projects and development, Scianna Hall will incorporate a long list of special features and technologies to better aid students’ academic endeavors and overall experience while attending the university.
Some of the features that Lucero highlighted included everything from easily modified classroom interiors to allow for group “breakout sessions” and group efforts to group study rooms that contain certain technologies to help students engage in interactive discussions.
“Part of the master plan is to provide a place where students can learn together and exchange ideas,” Lucero said. “It creates a ‘real-life’ atmosphere to give business students the best advantage for what is out there in the real market.”
Lucero said the building will include a complete gathering area on the second floor for students to interact with each other and professors on a regular basis, as compared to some of the other buildings on campus that are simply long corridors.
“It is another one of our goals to essentially add to the college experience and I think these additions will help accomplish that,” Lucero said.
In addition to the educationally designed student gathering areas, classrooms and lecture halls are expected to introduce a variety of new technology into the academic environment.
“Over the past eight years, technology on campus has constantly evolved,” Lucero said. “Every time we build a building we try to construct it to the most current standard of technology so that the technology is not obsolete by the time we install it.”
Lucero said the technology is purchased at the end of the construction process, so that Scianna Hall will be equipped with the latest technology possible. He added that having the capabilities of the new technologies in Scianna Hall will not only benefit students in the College of Business, but will benefit the expansion of campus as well.
J.T. Tisdale, director of external relations for the College of Business, said the technology that will be available in Scianna Hall is one of the essential factors that will ultimately post USM’s College of Business on par with business schools worldwide and he echoed Lucero’s statement that these advancements in technology will benefit the university as a whole.
“Students will now be able to engage with people internationally, nationally and locally, and will also be able to interact with Fortune 500 companies,” Tisdale said. “These innovations are definitely pushing technology to the next level for the College of Business and Southern Miss.”
Lucero explained Scianna Hall will potentially include lecture halls equipped with a variety of multimedia components such as several running simultaneously for different aspects of interactive sessions. Also, the building will have what Lucero loosely referred to as a “financial center” located on the second floor. This area will have a constant stream of stock market activity on display.
Lucero and Tisdale both explained that having these technologies would allow for the introduction academic features known as “Lecture Capture” and “Distance Learning.”
Lecture Capture would essentially provide a way for students to access professors’ lectures online and gather necessary information. Distance Learning would potentially enable classes from the university’s Gulf Park campus to join in on lectures taking place in Scianna Hall. These students would not only be able to stream the lecture, but would be able to actively participate in lectures.
While the new building is expected to yield such academic benefits, Lucero said it is the building’s overall efficiency that makes it unique.
“For almost eight years we’ve been promoting new technologies and ideas on campus to save energy,” Lucero said. “Some of the buildings on campus such as College Hall have a few of these energy saving technologies but Scianna Hall is the first building to have a lot of it incorporated into one building.”
Lucero explained that some of these technologies include LED automatic lighting, which are expected to yield an energy saving of about 30 percent in regards to lighting, more thermostat control and more specific control of energy in the building as a whole.
“The best comment I heard was when we were in front of the (university) president, the architect stood up and said that the we not only met but surpassed the state’s requirement for energy efficiency,” Lucero said.
According to an article in Southern Miss Now, the opening of Scianna Hall will increase the square footage dedicated to the College of Business by 50 percent.
Furthermore, Tisdale added the new facility would likely contribute to a sustainable growth of the College of Business and enrollment of business students at the university, in which now the college represents about 13.9 percent of the student population, according to the most recent annual report.
“The building is of high quality and I think it will start setting new standards for us on campus,” Lucero said. “It’s a well appointed building; simple in its taste, but stately.”