USM gets big check to build new pedestrian pathway

southern missHATTIESBURG — The University of Southern Mississippi’s plan to build a new pedestrian pathway on the Hattiesburg campus has received a major boost on after Southern District Highway Commissioner Tom King presented a check for $683,560 to the university.

Southern Miss President Rodney D. Bennett accepted the check provided by the Mississippi Department of Transportation as part of a grant, which originated through Transportation Alternative Program funds distributed by the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act. The grant is an 80/20 match — meaning that MDOT contributes $683,560 toward construction of the new pathway while Southern Miss pays approximately $171,000.

“This is a great day for Southern Miss, but an especially important day for our students who will benefit immensely from this new pedestrian pathway,” said Bennett. “This pathway will provide a safe environment for our students as they travel through that portion of campus.”

The proposed pathway will extend approximately 1,400 feet, establishing a link between Scianna Hall and Pride Field. The pedestrian corridor will run along the front entrance to Century Park South — a new residential complex nearing completion.

“This just feels right,” said King upon presentation of the check. “This project will further enhance the Southern Miss campus while making pedestrian traffic safer for everyone. At the Mississippi Department of Transportation, we are all about safety, and I know the administration at Southern Miss feels the same way.”

The project is being designed and managed by Neel-Schaffer Inc. Construction is expected to begin this fall with an estimated completion timetable of 18 months.

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