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USM working on new nursing facility

HATTIESBURG — Preliminary design plans are taking shape for a new School of Nursing (SON) building at the University of Southern Mississippi.

With $1.5 million in federal grant money already in hand, university officials have selected a site and architect for the proposed 52,000-square-foot facility. The cost of completion is estimated at $22 million but no timeline has been established yet for construction and further funding for that portion of the project is yet to be determined.

Dr. Katherine Nugent, director of the School of Nursing at Southern Miss, said, “The current building is inadequate to accommodate the increased student undergraduate and graduate enrollment. There is a critical shortage of nurses across the country and we’re addressing that shortage at Southern Miss with new programs that were implemented in response to workforce needs in healthcare and the increased use of technology, such as patient simulators, in teaching. A new building would certainly enable us to better accommodate expanded enrollment in our program.”

The current nursing building was constructed in 1977 and includes just over 37,000 square feet.

Funding for the design phase of the project was provided through the 2009 Labor, Health and Human Services Education Appropriations bill. Southern Miss received approval from the state Institutions of Higher Learning board to proceed with the project in September.

Discussions are underway with Allred Architect Group of Pascagoula about design options for the new building, which will be located in the northwest quadrant of a parking lot on the corner of Ross Boulevard and Montague Street.

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