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Foundation launches fundraiser for new nursing school

HATTIESBURG — The University of Southern Mississippi Foundation has launched an $8-million fundraising campaign to help construct a new facility for the University’s School of Nursing.

The School of Nursing Building Campaign has received a $4-million commitment from the Asbury Foundation of Hattiesburg Inc., a gift that will name the proposed building Asbury Hall, pending College Board approval.

The facility, which will be located on the western edge of the Hattiesburg campus, will increase the square footage dedicated to the School of Nursing by 135 percent, providing much-needed space for faculty and students and replacing a facility that can no longer meet the requirements of nursing education, according to USM.

“It is difficult to find words that will adequately express the significance of this gift to the future of the School of Nursing, its faculty, alumni and future students,” said Dr. Katherine Nugent, director of the School of Nursing.

Established in 1984, the Asbury Foundation is a private grant-making organization that strengthens education and health in the Pine Belt and throughout Mississippi. Since 1999, the foundation has committed more than $6.6 million to programs and scholarship endowments at the University of Southern Mississippi.

The new School of Nursing building will allow for an increase in nursing enrollment from the current 550 students to more than 800 and expand new programs in the School of Nursing through student interactive areas, an enlarged and enhanced clinical simulation lab, computer labs and classrooms.

Through the new space, the School of Nursing hopes to increase interaction and partnerships with the community by providing areas for community forums on health and professional nursing issues, simulation space for interdisciplinary training and foyer and dining space to host receptions.

In addition to the $8 million in private contributions and $4 million in federal grants, the university will be requesting state appropriations through bond funding during the next two legislative sessions to complete the financing of the construction project. The total project, including a $3-million endowment for the building, is estimated to cost $31 million.

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