Restoration of one of USM’s original facilities almost complete

HATTIESBURG — Work to restore one of the original structures on the University of Southern Mississippi’s Hattiesburg campus to its former glory is in the final stages.

College Hall, built in 1912, will re-open during the spring 2013 semester and serve as home to its new occupant, the School of Mass Communication and Journalism. Campus radio station WUSM-FM and The Student Printz student newspaper will also call College Hall home after being housed in Southern Hall for several decades.

Over the last 100 years, College Hall has hosted classes, department offices and even the university’s first library and auditorium. Renovation of the building blends modern technology, such as LED lighting and other energy-efficient infrastructure, along with revival of the building’s 20th century architectural style, said project manager Joel Lucero.

“I think it looks spectacular,” Lucero said. “I’ve been with the project since its inception, working with the architects and contractor, and it has run smoothly with minimal change orders. When it’s finished I believe it will be a great melding of old and new.”

The south entrance, previously blocked by a mechanical room, will be accessible and several windows bricked in decades ago are back, along with arch-shaped windows above the entrances on the east and west sides of the building. A staircase on the west end, part of the original structure, has been restored and landscaping of the building’s grounds will be included.

The contractor for the project is W.G. Yates & Sons Construction Company, with architectural services provided by Dale Partners Architects, P.A. The overall projected cost of the renovation is $6.3 million.

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