USM to host College Hall ribbon cutting

The University of Southern Mississippi will host a formal ribbon-cutting ceremony to re-open College Hall Friday, Oct. 25, at 2 p.m.

College Hall was the first academic building on campus. It housed classrooms, administrative offices, the library, an auditorium and the university president’s office.

“Over the years, the building underwent several renovations and served as the home of multiple academic departments and administrative offices,” said Joel Lucero, associate director of the Physical Plant.

Over the last two years, the building has undergone a $6 million renovation and restoration. It’s now the home of the School of Mass Communication and Journalism.

“The renovation went very well and College Hall is going to make a great home for us,” said Chris Campbell, director of the School of Mass Communication and Journalism. “We think it will dramatically raise the school’s profile and allow us to attract great faculty and students.”

The ceremony allows the USM Foundation to begin The Campaign for Mass Comm, a fundraising initiative related to the College Hall renovation.

“Two days after we publicly announced the campaign last February, the tornado struck, and our efforts were appropriately re-directed,” said Bob Pierce, vice president of advancement and executive director of the USM Foundation. “The ribbon cutting will allow us to update supporters and to restore the campaign, which has extraordinary potential.”

The first and second floors of the building house faculty and administrative offices, five classrooms, the computer labs, a digital photo lab and photo studio. The third floor houses the student media operations including The Student Printz, WUSM-FM, a recording studio, television studio and offices for student media operations.

The building is also equipped with energy-efficient features such as double-pane glass and lights that go off automatically when rooms aren’t in use.

Dale Partners of Jackson served as the project’s architect, led by Matt Brilley. Beau Dubose managed the project for the contractor, Yates Construction.

College Hall will allow mass communication and journalism students to work in a real-world setting outside of the classroom.

“We expect the third floor will be a 24-7 operation, with students working at the Printz, radio station and in the TV and recording studios,” Campbell said. “Learning to work collaboratively in a setting like this [is] going to make them very marketable when they graduate.”