- Associated Press - Wednesday, May 27, 2015

HATTIESBURG, Miss. (AP) - The new Asbury Hall at the University of Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg will increase square footage dedicated to the College of Nursing by 135 percent.

USM officials told the Hattiesburg American (https://hatne.ws/1cZd5Ec ) the new $31 million building will replace a facility that can no longer meet the requirements of a nursing education.

Katherine Nugent, dean of the College of Nursing, said 1,450 students are currently crammed into Harkins Hall, which was built around 1975.

“Bigger is very important,” Nugent said. “Since that time (of Harkins), we have grown in student enrollment, grown in programs, grown in faculty space.”

She said the new building will have the latest technology.

“Right now, we have to schedule when our students bring in their laptops because we don’t have the technological infrastructure,” she said. “It will have the infrastructure to interact with another county or across the state.”

Nugent said the students will love the new building with all its space dedicated to them.

“The major thing the students will tell you is the building has so much room for student interaction and engagement,” she said. “There is a huge room for student group work and smaller areas for test review and studying.”

She said students also will have more privacy when talking with school advisers.

Nugent said the problem with Harkins Hall is students have nowhere to relax or study when they are at school all day.

At Asbury Hall, there will be a welcoming and comfortable student lounge, much nicer than the small student lounge at Harkins that could only hold 12 students.

Nugent said if construction stays on track, Asbury Hall should be ready for occupancy by summer 2016.


Information from: The Hattiesburg American, https://www.hattiesburgamerican.com

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