In mid-December, the ground of Spirit Park was broken to build a new foundation for Southern Station.
A gift from the Southern Miss Alumni Association, Southern Station will feature a 34 x 24-foot stage and more than 1,250 square feet of event space behind the stage facing M.M. Roberts Stadium. The facility will be complete with climate-controlled restrooms and a 275-square-foot space that can be used for storage or event preparation.
It will be completed by the beginning of Southern Miss’ 2020 football season.
Initially, the Alumni Association considered building a bronze Golden Eagle statue, but the group decided they needed a gift that would resonate more with students.
“Our mission is to be the driving force behind engagement,” Southern Miss Alumni Association Director Jerry DeFatta said. “We want our alumni to be engaged, but in order to have engaged alumni, we have to have engaged students. We really invest a lot of time and a lot of resources in students for them to realize that connection when they leave. One of the best ways to build good relationships with the university is to have good experiences as a student.”
Albert & Robinson architects from Downtown Hattiesburg will build the stage. The company renovated the Ogletree House after the 2013 EF4 tornado.
Southern Station will be used to accompany large acts, small acoustic sets, and events Southern Miss organizations would like to host. The backdoor space on the M.M. Robert’s Stadium side can be used to have game day tailgates or outdoor events for alumni that can be roped off with pipes and drapes to create a green room. It can even be a changing room for theatre and arts events.
Senior music education major Matthew Gioia said he is excited to see what Southern Station will be used for.
“Local bands, local artists, and Eaglepalooza, maybe instead of going to Downtown Hattiesburg or Reed Green just have it there. Even for a DJ coming there, why not at Southern Station? It’s a huge space,” Gioia said.
After construction is complete, the university administration will decide if student organizations will be charged to use Southern Station.
“I feel like we have built a facility with a wide range of uses that we hope will serve Southern Miss for decades to come,” DeFatta said.
Senior Associate AD for External Operations Brad Smith said Southern Station has the potential to enhance the game day experience.
“We understand the financial commitment our students and fans make to spend a game day weekend with us, so we are excited that the Southern Miss Alumni Association brought this to life,” Smith said. “Many students, fans and families are craving more activities surrounding a football game, and Southern Station will help us add more to their game day. By creating a better connection to our students and fans, Southern Station will take our game day atmosphere to another level.”