HATTIESBURG — University of Southern Mississippi faculty, staff, students and administrators were joined by state dignitaries and university supporters Wednesday for the official groundbreaking of Asbury Hall, the future home of USM’s College of Nursing.
Dr. Katherine Nugent, dean of the College of Nursing at Southern Miss, said, “This has been an eight-year journey. I remember being told a new building for the College of Nursing was not going to happen. People who know me also know that I’m not the most patient person. Well, here we are.”
The $31-million, state-of-the-art facility — to be located on the western edge of the Hattiesburg campus — will increase the square footage dedicated to the College 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.
The new building is expected to be completed in 2016.
The nursing program’s new building will allow for an increase in nursing enrollment from the current 550 students to more than 800 and expand new programs in the College of Nursing through student interactive areas, an enlarged and enhanced clinical simulation lab, computer labs, and classrooms that will promote the acquisition of knowledge in a positive and interactive learning environment.
In January 2012, the USM Foundation announced an $8-million fundraising campaign to help construct a new facility for the nursing program. The College of Nursing Building Campaign got off to a strong start with a $4-million commitment from the Asbury Foundation of Hattiesburg, a gift that led to the naming of Asbury Hall. To date, the campaign has raised more than $6 million toward the original goal.