JACKSON, MS (WLOX) - The University of Southern Mississippi will receive $16 million from a $402 million bond bill that passed the Senate Friday. The bill includes $3 million to complete the Science Building on the Gulf Park Campus and other repairs and infrastructure work.
The money was allocated by House Bill 1701. Thirteen million dollars of that bond will pay for a new School of Business on USM's Hattiesburg campus.
"I am proud that we were able to place $13 million for the purpose of building a new School of Business on the Hattiesburg campus of the University of Southern Mississippi," said Lt. Governor Phil Bryant.
Construction for the $7.6 million Science Building is scheduled to begin in fall 2010 and is expected to be ready for occupancy by spring 2012. The building will feature 33,580 square feet of biology and chemistry laboratories, a marine science laboratory, faculty offices, research space and classrooms.
"We are grateful to the Mississippi Legislature for this funding," said Dr. Pat Joachim, associate provost for Southern Miss Gulf Coast. "This new facility will provide much-needed space for our growing student population."
The building will be constructed on the northwest corner of campus, which is located outside of the FEMA flood zone. Funded through Senate bills in 2003 and 2004, the Science Building will match the architectural style of the campus' Advanced Education Center and library.
The $402 million bond bill to pay for renovations and improvements at state-owned facilities and universities and to boost economic development projects.
The bill passed the House, but was held for more debate. The proposal also passed the Senate, but faced several questions from lawmakers who said some important projects had been left out.
Senate Finance Committee Chairman Dean Kirby says the hefty bill comes at a time the state is in poor economic condition. He says many of the projects were chosen because some public buildings have gone too long without upgrades.
"As a member of the Business Advisory Council, I have worked many hours on this dream of having a building fit for such a world class program. It is my belief this money from the state will encourage other private investment, and we can soon break ground on this fantastic addition to the beautiful Southern Miss campus, " Bryant said.