Students at The University of Southern Mississippi are finding a new home in the recently constructed dorms in Vann Hall and Luckyday Citizenship Hall.
Located on the north side of campus off 4th Street, the two dorms opened to residents in the fall of 2014, supplying 450 beds to students, and will be joined by Scott Hall in January 2015. Century Park South, as the three dorms are collectively called, replaced student housing lost by closing dorms in the Freshman Quad and adds to housing since the old Bond, Scott and Vann Halls fell into disuse.
Vann Hall’s amenities are similar to those of Century Park North, with in-room private bathrooms and laundry located on the first floor of the building. Vann, like Luckyday Citizenship Hall, offers kitchen space on each floor that Century Park North did not. The lounge/kitchen area boasts several microwaves, a large fridge, two stoves and sinks.
Both dorms also have two private study rooms on each floor. Luckyday Hall is laid out slightly differently, however, with multiple private bathrooms on each floor, but across the hall from students’ rooms, and a laundry room on each floor.
Students’ reactions to the new dorms have been positive. Abi Jacobson, a junior physics major, is a resident assistant in Vann Hall. Having previously served as an RA for upperclassmen in Century Park North, she finds that the students she interacts with in Vann are more excited, but she said Vann Hall presents different problems than the dorms in Century Park North.
“We were told that we can’t hang things up (on the walls), something about the paint,” Jacobson said. “Some of the students hung things up anyway. We have no date on when we can put things up, and I think it would make people feel better to have a date.” Jacobson also noted that the showers were too tall, but made clear that her experiences so far in Vann have been good.
Shakyra Peters, a junior transfer student, also lives in Vann Hall and likes the facilities. Peters said the rooms at Vann are of similar quality as those at her previous school. “(Although) we did have more room to ourselves,” Peters said, noting that her former room was larger than the rooms in Vann.
But despite previous complaints from other students that Century Park dorms are too far from the main parts of campus, Peters finds that Vann is fairly convenient. She is also looking forward to attending RA programs this year.
Raven Webb, a freshman exercise science major, and Bernesha McLemore, a freshman biology major, are two students living in Luckyday Citizenship Hall. The girls became friends at orientation and now reside on the same floor in the Luckyday dorm, just two doors down from each other. Both girls were annoyed by the amount of ID swiping required to get to their rooms, but were understanding of the need to wait to decorate their rooms so that the paint can dry completely.
“I think we only have to wait a month to put stuff up on the walls. It’s not that big of a deal,” McLemore said. Both McLemore and Webb also felt that the price of the new dorms, $3,050 per semester, is reasonable for the facilities.
More of a problem, the girls believe, is where to park; neither of them think there are enough spaces near the dorms. “The first day here, I lost my car, and we were walking around the parking garage,” Webb said.
Despite the perennial complaints of too many swipes to get into the rooms and the lack of parking, most students, it seems, are happy with their new home here at Southern Miss and Century Park South in particular. McLemore summed up popular sentiment. “I would rather be here,” she said. “It’s the perfect location.”