USM architecture students present ideas for developing Wiggins



WIGGINS, miss. (WLOX) – On Wednesday, Wiggins community leaders were presented development proposals by 20 architecture students at the University of Southern Mississippi.

Although it’s all hypothetical, city officials said it was a great showcase for property owners and investors.

“It was amazing what they achieved in just a short amount of time, and how much they had cut into Wiggins and history,” said Seth Willison of the Stone County Chamber of Commerce.

The students had the task of converting a Wiggins area into a residential and commercial space with a public park.

“Students are given the opportunity to design three different programs,” says Nicholas Wickersham, Assistant Professor of Architecture at USM. “The Wiggins community gets the opportunity to see three different projects.”

City Mayor Darrell Berry said he was impressed with the pitches.

“It’s been growing slowly, and hopefully this will give our inner city a boost,” he said.

Senior student Bob Tibbs’ site includes a bakery, bookstore, and residential units.

“That was really fun. It was a very different experience than anything I’ve had before,” said Tibbs. “For me personally, I wanted to create a place where everyone in the community could just relax, have a good day and can be outside, but can also serve as a draw for people who want to move to Wiggins. “

The Stone County Economic Development Partnership received a grant from Mississippi Power earlier this year.

South Mississippi leaders reached out to USM for the project back in May to highlight opportunities for small business development in the area.

It was a real lesson for the students.

“I hope you really get a lot out of it. I think the work speaks for itself. I’m really happy with the models, the drawings, the thought process and the limits, ”said Professor Wickersham.

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