The University of Southern Mississippi is rebounding from extensive tornado damage with a $3 million landscaping plan that will include over 130 new trees on the southern edge of its campus in Hattiesburg. The site was drastically damaged by a powerful tornado in February that destroyed 75 trees on the front portion of the university’s campus.

“This area holds such importance and so many memories for our students, alumni and friends. As our front porch, it serves as our visitors’ first impression of a campus community that is bursting with tradition, resilience and the passion to make Southern Miss better every day,” said University President Rodney Bennett.

The new landscaping is slated to begin with the planting of five 50-foot tall trees around the gateway to the university. The project, financed by private donors, will be completed in multiple phases and will take several years to finish.