$4.6M student housing project in progress near USM Gulf Park

Image of the interior design for the student housing complex. (Photo Source: WLOX)
The old Triton building in Long Beach will be converted into student housing for USM students at the South Mississippi campus. (Photo Source: WLOX)

LONG BEACH, MS (WLOX) –

A developer is converting the old Triton building in Long Beach into a student housing complex.

Encompass, a Kentucky-based company, is working with Gulf Coast Student Housing LLC. to turn the structure into Friendship Oak Village.

This is a $4.6 million conversion on a tight timeline. The proximity to the campus will invite students to walk to class.

"The students will be here on September 15, so we want to be available then. Right now, we’re going through our demo phase. We’ll be done with demolition in a few weeks and then we’ll start doing construction on the inside," Parrish said.

Work is currently underway to demolish interior walls in the structure on Railroad St., across the tracks from the University of Southern Mississippi Gulf Park Campus.

While the university has talked about building dorms on the Gulf Park campus, this private project will offer student housing and bring opportunities for USM to attract more out of state students to the coast.

"Eventually this is going to be 122 unit student housing. Each room will be two students per room. It’ll be 74 units that will be extra large rooms, and we’ll have 48 rooms that will be normal dormitory style rooms," said contractor Lee Parrish.

The project is not associated with the University of Southern Mississippi, but the dormitory style development could go a long way towards attracting students to the Gulf Coast campus. That’s why the City of Long Beach is excited about the opportunity.

"We want them to be bigger and better because kids who are living in Kentucky or Wisconsin could come and go to college on the beach, give back to Mississippi and work here," according to Jenny Levens with the City of Long Beach.

Even though it’s a private venture, housing will be offered at a per semester rate. Multiple lounge areas will be available along with study rooms, a gated pool and controlled access parking.

There will be an official groundbreaking ceremony at Friendship Oak Village on Monday. Construction is expected to be completed by mid-August.

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