Construction limits parking on campus

Construction of the new Century Park South complex has temporarily shut down half of the commuter parking lot in front of the Thad Cochran Center, making the parking garage more congested.
Jessica King/Printz

A portion of Black and Gold Boulevard has been closed due to continued construction of Century Park South, a new residential complex scheduled to be completed by July 2014.

The closed portion runs along the construction site and is directly north of the Thad Cochran Center.

Limited parking will be available on the east and west ends of the Thad Cochran Center.

As a result of the closure, left turns will be permitted on to Fourth Street from Eagle Walk. Upon partial completion of Century Park South, Black and Gold Boulevard will reopen as a two-lane thoroughfare with no parking in July 2014.

The parking garage, located across from Century Park North, was designed to provide parking space that would be lost during the construction of the state-of-the-art residential facilities, Century Park North and South, as well as the new home of the College of Business, Scianna Hall.

“The remediation of lost parking spaces is always a priority in the planning process of every construction project on the Hattiesburg campus,” said Michelle Shinall, assistant director of marketing and campus relations.

“As a requirement of the university’s master plan, for every space lost, an additional space is planned.”

Despite having the parking garage, some students have mixed opinions about the construction project and its limiting of parking for students on campus.

“Removing this space without replacing it makes this change bittersweet for the student body,” said Anna Francis, a junior broadcast journalism major.

“As a commuter student, living off campus means that I have to arrive earlier to find a parking spot.”

Anghsylea Jones, a senior therapeutic recreation major, said the area should not be closed for construction. “By closing this section of parking, other parking areas will be over capacity with commuters and university faculty and staff,” Jones said.

Throughout the year, other parking spaces will be lost due to the construction of the College of Nursing building. The building will be located on the corner of Ross Boulevard and Montague Boulevard and in the north corner of the Theatre and Dance Building parking lot.

Several nearby houses and apartment complexes have been demolished and turned into parking spots to make up for the spaces lost when further construction begins in the summer of 2014.

“I know losing parking spaces is not good for us as students, but construction means improvements are being made to our noble institution,” said Nick Missel, a senior kinesiotherapy major. “Thus, I am glad we are looking to the future with high ambitions and a standard set at nothing less than the best.”

As more projects, renovations and upgrades begin, construction will remain a familiar sight to the Southern Miss community. “We may have to endure the relocation of parking spaces,” Shinall said. “In the end, however, these projects will continue the growth and advancement of the university.”