JACKSONVILLE, Ala. (WIAT) — Jacksonville State University welcomes students back into the classroom this semester with new campus additions coming soon to improve student experience.

There’s quite a bit of construction underway on JSU’s campus, all for exciting new projects incoming students will be able to enjoy in the near future.

Dean of Students Josh Robinson said they’re building a new residence hall that will add about 500 beds. A new football facility that will serve as a field house and operations is also in the works.

Students can also look forward to a new dining hall that is also intended to serve as a gathering space to help students find a sense of belonging.

“It means that we are continuously improving. We are growing and supporting the student experience, and we are making sure that our students feel like they matter on our campus,” said Robinson. “That’s kind of our theme right now, ‘You matter.’”

Students will even receive t-shirts that say ‘You Matter’ from university leaders as they walk to their classes this morning.

University and student leaders that have been welcoming students back to campus all week have been celebrating ‘back to school’ in big ways.

This week JSU has hosted a pool party, freshman convocation, a welcome back cookout at the president’s house, and ‘get on board day.’ This is where students can explore and join campus organizations to get involved outside of class. JSU’s Student Activities Vice President Deonta Bush said this is really important and helpful, especially for new students transitioning to college life.

“I have signed up for the NAACP group, so I’m really excited to see where that goes,” said Amariyana Moore, a JSU Freshman. “And I’ll try to ambassador my second semester sophomore year, so I can be more involved.”

JSU continues back to school fun this evening with their Spirit on Mountain Street Festival which they host alongside the city. All students and community members are invited and country band Parmalee will even be there performing to help kick off this new school year.

The university is also making progress on some campus improvements, specifically around traffic safety to make sure students and other pedestrians aren’t put in harm’s way while walking on campus.

Just last school year JSU student Leah Tarvin was struck by a car while crossing a street near campus and later died from her injuries.

In response to safety concerns Robinson said pedestrian safety improvements are underway.