The University of South Alabama Board of Trustees held their regularly scheduled quarterly meeting this morning, where the board approved a $5 million line of credit to provide funds for the acquisition of property from the Mobile Area Water and Sewer System.

Steve Simmons, the university’s vice president for finance and administration, said $4 million will be used to purchase MAWSS property on Catherine and Cox Streets. The acquisition will also include the current MAWSS building on Catherine Street, he said.


“The whole property that’s the water works services there, we’ve made an offer and they’ve accepted an offer to sell that property,” Simmons said. “All the property they have except for one small part across the street, but basically all of their property, we’ve agreed to purchase. We’ve agreed to the price.”

According to Simmons, the purchase agreement is broken down into two separate entities, the Cox Street property, located next to USA Children’s & Women’s Hospital, and the remaining Catherine Street property and facility.

While Simmons said the primary reason for the purchase is to accommodate future needs of the hospital system, the property acquisition will also serve the needs of the Mitchell Cancer Institute as well.

Due to the construction of a new $36.5 million Physicians Office Building on university property near USA Children’s & Women’s Hospital and the Mitchell Cancer Institute, parking has become a growing issue, he said.

Further, Simmons confirmed the Cox Street purchase has officially been closed, and the university now owns the property, providing a solution to the immediate need of additional parking.

“It will provide some quick property, and then we’ll probably be moving some administrative offices and maybe some clinical offices. All that’s not absolutely decided,” he said.

As far as the Catherine Street agreement, Simmons said the university is moving forward with the normal due diligence process and environmental studies needed to finalize the purchase, which he said should be complete in the next few months.

MAWSS spokeswoman Barbara Shaw said the Catherine Street bill payment center will, at least, be open until June and possibly longer, with the option of MAWSS paying rent to USA. According to Shaw, MAWSS is currently evaluating options for another payment location.

In the mean time, MAWSS customers can still make payments at the Moffett Road location, the MAWSS mobile app or even places not operated by MAWSS like cash exchanges and Wal-Mart locations in Mobile, Shaw said. However, you cannot make delinquent payments at these locations.

“This was just a great opportunity for us to consolidate our operations,” she said.

In other business, the board authorized the transfer of $2.5 million, as a capital investment, from the USA Health System accounts to the USA HealthCare Management, LCC, which was created by USA Health System in 2010, to enter into a broader scope of healthcare opportunities.

According to officials, approximately $2 million will be maintained by USA HealthCare Management, LLC, to meet Medicaid’s solvency requirements for establishing a health home program in the Gulf Coast Regional Care Organization, LLC and other financial needs.

The board also approved the nominations of Leo Dekle and Dr. Samuel Strada to be considered by the Mobile County Commission for selection to serve on the Mobile County Hospital Board.

In honor of former Bishop State Community College president James Lowe, Jr., who passed away Feb. 18, the board presented a formal resolution, commending him for his leadership in both his personal and professional life.