HATTIESBURG , Miss. (WHLT) – The Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Mississippi Foundation has awarded a grant to The Children’s Center for Communication and Development at The University of Southern Mississippi (USM) through the USM Foundation.

Officials said the funds will be used to build a new playground on USM’s Hattiesburg campus.

The playground will serve as an outdoor therapy space for children with complex communication needs and developmental disabilities who are currently receiving services from The Children’s Center and as an inclusive play space for children in the Hattiesburg region with and without disabilities.

“The playground at The Children’s Center is much more than a playground,” said Sarah Myers, director at The Children’s Center. “This outdoor space is not used as a break from a child’s therapy. On the contrary, when the space is set up to support it, it is an extremely effective therapy setting.”