University summer focus includes construction headway

Contact: Nicole Thomas

STARKVILLE, Miss.—With the first day of summer in the rearview mirror, construction is ramping up at ĢƵ. 

“Summer is always a busy season for campus construction with numerous projects scheduled or already underway to update and improve existing infrastructure and advance capital projects,” said Saunders Ramsey, executive director of ĢƵ’s Campus Services. 

“Summer projects also allow us to limit the impact on our students and our campus community,” said Ramsey. “Everything we’re doing is focused on building a vibrant, welcoming environment that supports learning and enriches our students’ experience.” 

Bost Drive Extension

A new entrance to campus from College View Drive will welcome students when they return in August. The final phase of the Bost Drive extension project is nearing completion, connecting to College View at the intersection of Bailey Howell Drive next to the Mize Pavilion.

“The Bost Drive extension is the first phase of a larger $50 million project to expand the College of Architecture, Art and Design and extend the arts and cultural corridor of campus toward the Cotton District,” said Ramsey.

Construction of the new road permanently closed a section of College View in front of Howell and Giles halls that will be reconfigured as a multi-use pedestrian plaza. 

Until the road construction is completed, a traffic detour route now runs through the Memorial Hall parking lot from Bailey Howell Drive and Barr Avenue.

Sanderson Center

A $2.5 million renovation to the university’s recreation facility, Sanderson Center, also is scheduled for completion in August.  The upgrades will welcome students in the fall to a new, expanded exercise area upstairs and a new bouldering cave on the lower level.

“Structural changes necessary for the renovation, which included extending the second floor to maximize space and adding a center stairway for easy access, are complete,” Ramsey said.  “Now, we’re preparing the space for installation of the new rock wall and other student-focused amenities.”  

Azalea Hall

Construction at Azalea Hall
Azalea Hall, on track for an August 2025 opening. (Photo by Jonah Holland)

The exterior of Azalea Hall, ĢƵ’s newest residence hall located between Ruby Hall and Old Main Academic Center, is starting to take shape as it nears the halfway point in construction. 

While site and utility work for the $100 million, 159,000-square-foot facility is impacting pedestrian and vehicle traffic along Barr Avenue, the new residence hall, with 400 bedspaces, will be a central hub for students on campus when it opens in August 2025 with private living quarters, social areas and new dining options.  

“You can start to visualize the scale of the project which builds excitement for students living and learning on campus,” Ramsey said. 

Randy J. Cleveland Engineering Student Center

Renovation of a historic building along ĢƵ’s “Engineering Row” is the focus of another student-centered project—the Randy J. Cleveland Engineering Student Center—scheduled to open in spring 2025. 

The project also represents Mississippi State’s commitment to preserving the Mississippi Landmark building, designated by the Mississippi Department of Archives and History, originally constructed in 1906 as the Materials Testing Laboratory.

“ĢƵ has worked closely with MDAH on the restoration which included tuckpointing of the brick to repair mortar joints, restoring the original windows and replacing the terracotta roof coping with a historically appropriate match,” said Ches Fedric, ĢƵ director of Planning, Design and Construction Administration.

The plans for the Cleveland Center create a modernized space, with appreciation of its history, that advances collaboration and enhances learning experiences for students in the James Worth Bagley College of Engineering. 

“Renovations include constructing a new second floor within the existing building for a student maker space and team rooms that facilitate project-based learning,” said Fedric.

Pedestrian detours currently are in place around Walker and McCain halls where the new center is located.    

Jim and Thomas Duff Center

Construction of the Jim and Thomas Duff Center
Construction of the Jim and Thomas Duff Center (Photo by Jonah Holland)

On the south side of campus, the final structural beam of the Jim and Thomas Duff Center was raised into place in mid-June to complete the exterior frame of the 100,000-square-foot facility, marking a milestone in the project.

The $65 million Duff Center is scheduled to open in fall 2025 as the new home of the Department of Kinesiology—one of the largest academic units on campus—and the Mississippi Institute on Disabilities, including ĢƵ’s Autism and Developmental Disabilities Clinic and other programs of the Disability Resource Center. Eventually, it will overlook the future McCarthy Quadrangle that will extend green spaces beyond the Drill Field for gathering.  

Perry Cafeteria

Closed this summer and for the upcoming academic year, the 102-year-old Perry Cafeteria is undergoing a major renovation. 

“We’re still in the initial phase of demolition inside the cafeteria, but it is a construction zone in the heart of campus that includes outdoor spaces on the north and east sides of Perry,” said Ramsey. “As a high-traffic area for students, faculty, staff and visitors, we ask them to be mindful of signage alerting them to the ongoing construction.”

During the renovation, ĢƵ will operate several food trucks around campus this fall, creating a new dining experience for students. An expanded Subway and new Bento Sushi located in the Student Media Center adjacent to Perry also are scheduled to open for this fall semester.

When Perry Cafeteria reopens in August 2025, it will feature three food hall concepts that include a southern-style kitchen, BBQ and grill, and salad station for dining options.

Hathorn Hall

Hathorn Hall, a five-story, traditional residence hall on the south side of campus, is undergoing an interior renovation this summer that includes new flooring and fresh paint. The hall’s 274 residents also will enjoy new restrooms and shower rooms with updated fixtures and lighting. As part of the remodel, a new accessible ramp is being installed in the lobby, meeting requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Cresswell Hall, located next door, underwent a renovation of similar scope last year. A new brick patio between the two halls creates a shared outdoor space. 

New Parking Lot

A new parking lot with 175 parking spaces north of Barnes and Noble Bookstore and Bost Extension Center is also under construction. The project includes demolition of the existing lot to maximize the layout and add more than 100 new spaces.

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Tuesday, July 2, 2024 - 8:05 am