Ole Miss eyes future with new and expanded facilities across campus
The University of Mississippi (UM) is in the midst of major expansion with the construction of two new residence colleges, a new law school and an expanded baseball stadium.
Between $170 and $180 million is being invested in ongoing construction projects at the university, according to Ian Banner, UM’s director of facilities management.
The biggest project currently underway is the 130,000-square-foot, $50-million law school being constructed on the west end of campus near the Thad Smith Coliseum.
Designed by the architectural firm Eley Guild Hardy, the building is expected to obtain a silver certification from the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Green Building Rating System.
Jim Eley is the principal-in-charge with help from David Morris, according to Banner.
“The building will use less energy and will be much more environmentally sensitive than any other building on campus,” Banner said, noting that environmental considerations are made in material selection such as using high-performance glass.
He said other considerations for the environmentally sound building involve situating the building on a bus route and including bike racks and showers for cyclists.
Open to students this week is the new 468-bed, four-story residence college. A second, three-story residence college is under construction and should open in a year.
The colleges, built at a cost of $30 million and $25 million, respectively, are on the site of the old faculty housing on the north end of campus. The dorms will be open to all classmen, but will also house a faculty member and his or her family.
Banner said the buildings also feature teaching and advising space for the students. The concept is modeled after the universities of Oxford and Cambridge in England.
Cook, Douglass, Farr and Lemons and Eley Associates were the joint venture firms responsible for the residential colleges. Rob Farr and Jim Eley were the principals-in-charge.
Additionally, the new Center for Manufacturing Excellence, a part of the university’s department of engineering that will house motor vehicle research, is being built near Carrier Hall.
In athletics, the expansion of the baseball stadium was completed this year, increasing the seating capacity from between 4,000 and 5,000 to 7,000.
Also added were new concessions, interior dining areas, box seats as well as new dugouts and bullpens.
Another athletic facility under construction is a basketball practice facility that will feature separate courts for ladies’ and men’s teams.
Other projects include the renovation of Coulter Hall, which houses the chemistry department, Banner said, noting that the school’s chemistry department educates 2,000 students each year and is one of the top 40 chemistry departments in the nation.
The renovation will include new labs, classrooms and research rooms.
“Everyone who goes to pharmacy school or medical school probably went through chemistry in Coulter because it’s been there since the 70s,” Banner said. “So, now it’s being dragged into the 21st century.”
Also being renovated are buildings on either side of the Lyceum: Old Chemistry and Peabody.
“Those buildings needed help, and we’re attending to those needs right now,” he said.
Banner said an additional 40 or 50 renovation projects are underway on campus, and while they tend to be smaller projects, they are just as important.
“It’s our job here to support the teachers and students,” Banner said. “And all the smaller projects are very important; they’re just not as fashionable.”
Banner attributed the university’s progressive construction to internal fundraising and to former Chancellor Robert Khayat.
“Over the last four to five years, we’ve identified needs that needed to be attended to, and the university has been very aggressive in its building program,” Banner said.
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