May 27, 2019  

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Southern Miss Celebrates Groundbreaking for Future Academic Building

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University of Southern Mississippi officials and Coast community leaders pose for a photo during the Gulf Park Business and Health Building Groundbreaking on the Gulf Park campus in Long Beach on Monday, May 23. (Photo by Danny Rawls)

In an ongoing effort to promote academic excellence for its students, faculty and staff, The University of Southern Mississippi celebrated the groundbreaking for the future Gulf Park Business and Health Building, Monday, May 23, on the University’s Gulf Park campus in Long Beach.

The new project will provide for a two-story, 25,000-square-foot academic facility that will house the University’s Gulf Park operations for the colleges of Business and Health.

“The University of Southern Mississippi remains committed to providing high-quality education and research programs for our coastal community,” said University President Rodney D. Bennett. “This new facility will elevate the great work of our faculty in their respective business and health disciplines while enriching students’ experiences here on our Gulf Park campus.”

Offering advanced learning and student success opportunities, the Gulf Park Business and Health Building will expand and enhance education and research opportunities the University provides in the fields of business and health.

“At Southern Miss, student success and academic excellence are our top priorities. The construction of the new Business and Health Building will offer many enhanced learning opportunities that will help us prepare students for their future career paths,” said Associate Provost for the Gulf Park Campus Dr. Casey Maugh Funderburk. “Additionally, I believe the new academic space will contribute to an increase in growth and progression for our students, faculty and staff.”

A $7 million project, the Gulf Park Business and Health building is being funded from $3.5 million appropriated by the Mississippi Legislature specifically for the project and an additional $3.5 million appropriated by the Legislature for general repairs to, and restoration of, Southern Miss facilities.

Once completed, the building will feature nine state-of-the-art classrooms and multiple breakout rooms and conference rooms that will serve as a shared resource for all academic disciplines across campus. The Colleges of Business and Health will occupy separate spaces on the second floor, with more than 30 offices and conference rooms for business and health faculty and staff members.  

“On behalf of the faculty, staff and students in the College of Business, we are thankful for this new building. It reinforces the excellent work provided at Gulf Park for our 500 plus current business majors and it will connect us to the community and thousands of alumni who have graduated from Southern Miss through our programs at Gulf Park,” said Dr. Faye Gilbert, dean of the College of Business.

Situated on the north side of the Gulf Park campus, the Business and Health Building will replace the last of the modular units that were used for classroom instruction and office space on the Gulf Park campus. This new facility will be constructed to the latest building codes and equipped with state-of-the-art safety and security features.

“Nothing demonstrates continuity and commitment better than new building construction,” said Dr. Michael Forster, dean of the College of Health. “The College of Health is very pleased to be part of Southern Miss’s long-term commitment to the Gulf Coast community.”

Construction of the Business and Health building will begin this week. The project is expected to be completed in approximately 14 months.

For more information about the Southern Miss Gulf Park campus, visit