It's been missing from the Southern Miss Gulf Park experience. But that's about to change.

A Kentucky-based company is bringing private off-campus student living to the Southern Miss. Gulf Park campus.
A Kentucky-based company is bringing private off-campus student living to the Southern Miss. Gulf Park campus. Courtesy Encompass Develop, Design & Construction

Students attending the University of Southern Mississippi's Gulf Park campus will soon have the chance to enhance their college experience — at least when it comes to dorm life.

A Kentucky-based company announced March 30 that it will building off-campus housing for the Long Beach branch of Southern Miss. Currently, there are no dorms on the Coast campus of Southern Miss.

Friendship Oak Village will break ground Monday on a $4.6 million housing unit that will be "strictly for USM" students according to John Stewart of Encompass Housing LLC, the company that is building the dorms, which will be located at 522 East Railroad St..

The dorms are scheduled to open August 16.

The investment is private and it's not affiliated with Southern Miss. But that doesn't mean the college is not excited about the project.

"We are enthusiastic about the developer’s efforts to bring housing for USM students to Long Beach. It is important to note this is a private housing development located outside of The University of Southern Mississippi Gulf Park campus," said Jenny Tate of USM Gulf Park. "Its proximity to the Gulf Park campus has the potential to contribute to a positive living/learning environment for our students. We are looking forward to the day that this project reaches completion and to its opening."

Stewart said the building will provide "dorm-stye living." The unit will contain 61 dorms with two beds in each room. Private bathrooms are shared between two rooms. The student housing also will have study lounges and an outdoor swimming pool, basketball court and grilling area.

Prices per semester are 48 beds at $3,200 and 74 beds at $3,550.

Long Beach Public Affairs Director Jenny Levens said the response to the announcement has been encouraging.

"This was just announced last Friday and 15 people signed up for rooms during the Jazz and Blues Festival." she said.

Students wishing to live in the off campus dorms will be responsible for paying their own way. Tate said federal financial aid can not be used for the housing as it is "a private company that is not affiliated with USM."

A groundbreaking ceremony will be held at the construction site beginning at 10 a.m. Those wishing to receive more information about the dorms can call 502-992-5105.