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USM to offer night classes at Miss. coast campus

The University of Southern Mississippi will offer night classes at its Gulf Park campus in Long Beach while the school continues to work on rebuilding after Hurricane Katrina.

USM will offer 13 night classes mostly for undergraduates, said Pat Joachim, associate provost for USM Gulf Coast.

“One thing everybody needs to understand is that students will not be running back and forth from one campus to another.

“The reason we’re having night classes is that they are still repairing the Advanced Education Center and the library, and there’s a good bit of construction going on during the day,” Joachim said.

Hurricane Katrina smashed the beachfront campus, causing major damage to the three front buildings. After the storm USM moved to property it purchased behind Memorial Hospital at Gulfport, the former Garden Park Medical Center.

In June, the State College Board announced it will keep the Long Beach campus but would look for 125-150 acres for an additional campus to handle an expected population explosion in South Mississippi in the next few years.

Until that happens, though, USM has leased three more buildings on the Gulfport property to help relieve crowding. Two of the buildings will be used for faculty offices and one will be for classrooms.

“We’re trying very hard to make sure we have all the class offerings to meet our students’ needs,” Joachim said. “The students have been very understanding and appreciate that we were able to open six weeks after Katrina.”

Robert Bass, former Long Beach mayor, was hired by the College Board to oversee the restoration efforts for all of USM’s campuses on the Gulf Coast. Bass said the rebuilding and repairing at Gulf Park will continue after the holidays, and the AEC and the library should be complete in time for the fall semester.

Classes begin at USM on Jan. 16.