60-year-old dorm coming down at Mississippi university

Published 10:37 pm Thursday, June 8, 2023

The University of Mississippi is keeping pace with its record freshman class enrollment by planning three new residence halls to be built on the site occupied by Kincannon Hall.

Demolition of Kincannon, which has been vacant since 2015, is scheduled to begin later this summer to minimize disruption during the fall semester.

“To be able to meet the increase in our enrollment and provide new, modern housing options for students, we decided that we needed to look at the addition of three new residence halls,” said John Yaun, assistant vice chancellor for student affairs and director of student housing. “The Kincannon site is a natural and convenient location for new student housing.

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“We are planning to provide new, modern housing options that we consider state-of-the art residence halls in terms of housing design, technological features, green spaces and academic spaces.”

The new halls will offer 990 more beds to complement existing on-campus housing. An additional goal of the project is to provide housing options for upper-class students, as well as freshmen, Yaun said.

Representatives from student housing and facilities planning, along with architect and design team McCarty Architects + Hanbury, have developed plans for the residential communities with input from student focus groups. One of the chief considerations was giving residents a sense of belonging.

“We want to enhance their on-campus living experience, because we know how important that is to overall student success and retention,” said Charlotte Fant Pegues, vice chancellor for student affairs.

“I’m so excited that in the near future, we will have additional spaces where students can live their lives and be part of a community at the same time.”

The new halls will offer a variety of housing design concepts, Yaun said. One is a suite-style room with an ensuite bathroom. Another features a pod-style room where a group of students share a bathroom and living area. Traditional rooms with a shared hall bathroom will also be offered.

“We are implementing the most up-to-date technology and features in the spaces,” he said. “We’re going to have a classroom option, large spaces with natural light, and we will identify potential sustainability features to implement.

“We’ll incorporate a small convenience store on the site where people can go in and purchase food and other items. We think these halls, like all of our residential communities, make a positive, impactful difference in the lives of our students.

“Outdoors, we’re looking at a mix of different options: green options, spaces for programs and activities, and spaces for students to relax outside. We really just want to provide something that students can enjoy and feels like a home away from home.”

Many of the planned features have been inspired by leading residential facilities from institutions around the country, Yaun said.

Named for Andrew Armstrong Kincannon, the university’s seventh chancellor, Kincannon Hall opened in 1963 and offered 540 bed spaces. At the time, it was the largest residence hall on campus, with 105,948 square feet of total space.

Previous Kincannon residents, or anyone with fond memories of the building, can own a piece of campus history by supporting student services on campus. In return, the Office of University Development will gift them an original brick with a $63 donation or room number with a $25 donation.

The campaign is scheduled to launch June 20. For more information, contact Maura Langhart, senior director of annual giving, at mmwakefi@olemiss.edu.

“While Kincannon has served its purpose, we are providing a more suitable site for student housing that is currently desired and needed on campus,” said Chad Hunter, associate university architect.

“We are very fortunate because we are a step ahead in the design process. We’re Ole Miss, and we have a beautiful campus that you cannot duplicate. These buildings are going to promote that – they will be an experience for our students.”