Bower Academic Center Set to Start Construction in February

A new facility for Southern Miss Athletics to greater assist Golden Eagle student-athletes in the pursuit of their education endeavors - The Bower Academic Center - begins construction next month on the second floor of Cook Library.

The facility, named after the former player, assistant and long-time head football coach Jeff Bower, recognizes the long-time education advocate who was part of the program for 29 years.

"This has been something that was always important to me," said Bower. "As the head football coach, I wanted to help our players in any way that we could to help them be successful in the classroom. This facility is long overdue…When you go to a quality facility that is conducive to learning and doing what you have to do, as far as studying and preparing for classes, I think that makes a difference."

The features of The Bower Academic Center include:
* Relocation from underneath the west side of M.M. Roberts Stadium to the 2nd floor of Cook Library
* Greatly improved environment with more than 18,000 square feet (increased from 3,500 square feet)
* Office space for all of Athletics' Academic Staff
* Private study and tutoring rooms
* Computer lab
* Large open quiet study space
* Multipurpose classroom
* Conference room for meetings, job interviews and recruiting visits
* Student-athletes will have convenient access to the University's Writing Center, Speaking Center and Math Zone that are located within Cook Library
* All students will have access to private study rooms when not occupied by student-athletes

"This is an extremely exciting announcement for our department as we begin construction on a state-of-the-art academic facility that will significantly impact the resources we can provide for our student-athletes," said Southern Miss Director of Athletics Jeremy McClain. "It is made even more special by the fact that we get to honor Coach Bower, his career, and his dedication to making sure his players performed academically.

"I want to thank the many donors who made this project a reality. Our student-athletes will benefit from your generosity for years to come. I also need to thank many of our partners across campus, specifically Dr. John Eye, our Dean of Libraries. Moving from the current location to Cook Library was crucial to the success of this project, and it would not have happened without Dean Eye's help." The project runs in conjunction with an extensive renovation of the entire Cook Library and will cost approximately $1.7 million of which all monies were privately raised. The architect of the project is Wier Boerner Allin Architecture from Jackson, Miss., while the contractor is Hattiesburg-based Codaray Construction.

The completion of the project is expected this summer, which will be ready for 400 Southern Miss student-athletes for the Fall 2020 semester.

Those wishing to still donate to this project are asked to email Southern Miss Senior Associate Director of Athletics for Development Brian Morrison at

Content and images courtesy of Southern Miss Athletics and

place image at the top, under the heading
Photograph of the entrance of the Bower Academic. At the bottom of the photo, the flooring is gray with black stripes. The entrance angles inward and is black with gold panels on the left featuring images of athletes playing basketball, baseball and football. Over the entrance is the words Bower Academic Center. At the top of the image, the ceiling is light gray with horizontal light fixtures. place image underneath paragraph with the quote from Jeremy McClain that ends with making sure his players performed academically. Photograph of a large room with two long tables that have eight computers, four on each side with glass separating one side from the other. Rolling desk chairs are at each station and the image features two students, one at each table. At the left and behind tables, is a glassed-in office area with desks and a person standing at one desk. At the right of the image is a wall to another room with a window, and a person is seen through the window. To the right of the room, is a hallway with two people walking in the hallway. The carpet is gray, in three different shades of gray. The ceiling is light gray with horizontal light fixtures. place image at the bottom of the story, on top of the credit line
At the left of the photograph is a light brown counter with a white counter. On the desk are two desktop computers and a person behind the desk and a person on the outside of the desk. Beyond the desk is a black wall with photographs of athletes and coaches. On the right side is a glass case featuring trophies and on the wall behind is the words 21 All-Academic Athletes, and words underneath that aren’t readable. At the end of the hallway, which has black walls, and the same three-tone gray carpet is a person walking.