LONG BEACH, Miss. (WJTV) – The University of Southern Mississippi’s (USM) Gulf Park campus could get a $2.5 million upgrade.

The grant comes from a bill that will award $50 million in BP settlement funds to various Mississippi Gulf Coast counties. Senate Bill 3047 was passed in both chambers on March 27 and now heads to Gov. Tate Reeves’ desk for a signature.

The bill would help create the USM Visualization and Digital Multimedia Center of Excellence for the Long Beach campus.

“We are enormously grateful and thrilled beyond words to receive this grant. It will be transformative, for our students and faculty, for the Gulf Park campus, and for our coastal communities. The Center of Excellence that this grant will establish will further position USM as the premier location in Mississippi and the Gulf Coast region for film education and expertise,” said Dr. Westley Follett, Interim Director, School of Coastal Resilience at USM.

The center plans to work the Film Studies and Production program in the School of Coastal Resilience. The center aims to promote a better understanding of the oceans, coasts, and the Blue Economy that they sustain.

The center will also be the host of an annual environmental film festival and use to promote stories that impact people living in coastal and maritime areas. USM students will have the opportunity to have hands-on experience in state-of-the-art film, digital and multimedia technology.