New College of Nursing Building at Southern Miss Nears Completion

HATTIESBURG, Miss. - This is a press release from the University of Southern Mississippi.

Asbury Hall, future home of the College of Nursing at The University of Southern Mississippi, is growing ever closer to completion on the Hattiesburg campus.

According to University officials, the project is on track to be substantially finished by October, with classes scheduled to begin for the spring semester next year. Groundbreaking on the $31 million, state-of-the-art facility was held in September of 2014.

“We are very excited that we are nearing completion of this significant project for the University,” said Dr. Chris Crenshaw, Associate Vice President for Facilities Planning and Management. “The opening of Asbury Hall will not only increase the educational opportunities for our current nursing students, but also impact the number of nurses and healthcare professionals entering the workforce in this state for years to come.”

Furniture and equipment installations in Asbury Hall are set to begin in mid-October and continue through November with an anticipated completion date by early December. College of Nursing personnel will begin to move in and occupy offices during the first week of November.The project received an immediate kick-start with a $4 million commitment from the Asbury Foundation of Hattiesburg -- a gift that led to the naming of Asbury Hall.

The new building, located on the western edge of the Hattiesburg campus, increases the square footage dedicated to the College of Nursing by 135 percent. It will provide much-needed space for faculty and students and replacing a facility that can no longer meet the requirements of nursing education.

For years Dr. Katherine Nugent, Dean of the College of Nursing, lobbied anyone and everyone about the need for a new building to house and expand the nursing program at Southern Miss. Now, her long-held dream sits almost finished just a short distance away from her current office.

“Every time I walk in the new building I stand amazed at the beauty of the facility and begin to comprehend that the dreams, the blueprints, and the renderings are evolving into a reality,” said Nugent. “I also think about how faculty, students, and staff will feel when they begin to work in this building with an environment that supports their efforts of providing a teaching-learning program that promotes student and faculty success.”

The new building will allow for an increase in nursing enrollment from the current 550 students to more than 800 and expand new programs in the College of Nursing through student interactive areas, an enlarged and enhanced clinical simulation lab, computer labs, and classrooms that will promote the acquisition of knowledge in a positive and interactive learning environment.

Nugent points out that Asbury Hall will serve as a shining symbol of the value placed on nursing education and healthcare in the entire Gulf South region.

“This new facility will expand our capacity to increase the nursing workforce by admitting more students and starting new programs,” said Nugent. “Most importantly, Asbury Hall shows the commitment of the University to meeting the healthcare needs of the state and the region. This facility will help the College of Nursing be a premier program at Southern Miss which will further promote recruitment and retention of quality faculty and students.”

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