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USC Projects & Construction (excluding Innovista)

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Thanks for the news! I read about this a few months ago in the Board meeting minutes and again recently in the Daily Gamecock, but you filled in a lot of the gaps in reporting. Looking through some of Perkins + Will's other projects, this building should be beautiful. The only concern I have about all of this new construction is that by breaking from the traditional yellow wall / black and white trim scheme, the projects run the risk of feeling disconnected and dated in the long term. Hopefully they will find a way to incorporate the new design with any updates the school makes to the surrounding buildings, particularly the future expansions and updates to Russell House.

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What are the plans for Russell House? I read that with the student population growth, Russell House will need to be enlarged by about 160k sq feet. Is that even on the drawing board at this point? When will the new student health center begin construction?

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I read the board minutes religiously and they have not mentioned any plans yet, just a need. I think they are still trying to decide how best to enlarge the RH. One of the options I remember them mentioning was building in the courtyard next to the food court, though I'm not particularly fond of that idea. Adding floors like UF did to their student center seems unfeasible and there's really no other space. The alternative is to build a building elsewhere and shift the non-critical offices there, but I have a feeling that would do more harm than good. At any rate, I think academic space and the more severe deferred maintenance will take precedence given limited capital.

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This is probably blasphemy, but I think they should tear the thing down and start over. The renovations about 9-10 years ago made it thousands of times easier to navigate, but it's still confusing, IMO. I do think that particular location is critical for the student center though. Moving it anywhere else would move the emphasis away from Greene St, which would be a mistake.

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I agree, but I don't think USC has the money for it. It's funny, even with the capital campaign USC will not be even close to its peers in terms of endowment and there are so many facility needs that the school really just needs to fill gaps for probably the next ten years.

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I agree, but I don't think USC has the money for it. It's funny, even with the capital campaign USC will not be even close to its peers in terms of endowment and there are so many facility needs that the school really just needs to fill gaps for probably the next ten years.

 

I agree, our endowment should be at least $1b.  We have a lot of work to do in order to move that forward.  But, I like the direction.  The capital campaign is a start, I am sure it won't stop at $1b.

 

Does anyone know the results of the board meeting today.  On the agenda, the new law school was up for discussion/vote (not sure for what...construction I hope,), the new indoor/outdoor practice facility, the Williams Brice Plaza and other projects.  The last time I spoke with someone at the law school, they expected construction to start this year. 

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I haven't heard anything from the meeting yet, but I assume the athletics items are an easy pass since they are self-funded. The only problem with all of the athletics facility construction is that, as far as I can tell, the university assumes the debt and is required to pay the debt service. We obviously have plenty of money to make the debt payments, but the school has a self-imposed debt limit that it needs to watch. Too many athletic facility improvements might delay general university capital projects. I hope the renegotiated SEC TV contract (SEC Network?) means we can pay off our outstanding athletics debt faster.

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This is probably blasphemy, but I think they should tear the thing down and start over. The renovations about 9-10 years ago made it thousands of times easier to navigate, but it's still confusing, IMO. I do think that particular location is critical for the student center though. Moving it anywhere else would move the emphasis away from Greene St, which would be a mistake.

I think they should convert the Coliseum into the a new student union - there could be retail and restaurants where the concourse is located and install an ice skating rink where the basketball court is.

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^ I've never thought about using the Coliseum for anything (there are big asbestos problems), but that's a really interesting idea. That side of campus will need a secondary student facility of some sort and the Coliseum will likely be vacant when HRSM moves into the current law school building. I have never been down to the basement classrooms level, but I understand that it is very dark and damp. Sasaki and Associates suggested that an adaptive reuse would be preferable to demolishing it (though I personally think it's hideous) and that would certainly address the lack of meeting space. I imagine that any renovation of the Coliseum will be expensive due to the asbestos, though.

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COLUMBIA — The University of South Carolina has decided to renovate the 45-year-old Carolina Coliseum to add classrooms, student services and activities space, and basketball practice courts for the Gamecock teams.

The estimated $125 million project was included in the university’s 2014-15 budget request to Gov. Nikki Haley. But the school says it is not asking for the money next year.

Instead, USC is providing lawmakers with a heads-up on its plans for the former home of Gamecock basketball that houses two colleges in its basement, spokesman Wes Hickman said. “We want to let them know this is not something we’re throwing together at the last minute.”

http://www.thestate.com/2013/11/11/3091795/exclusive-usc-plans-coliseum-renovation.html

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I think USC would prefer to demo the building, but I believe regulations issued by the state force them into re-using it. Considering the expansion across Assembly Street, this is probably a great opportunity to build a secondary hub of campus. Funding that was destined for Russell House expansion, additional classroom space, and basketball practice courts would be redirected here and the big benefit would be freeing up space around the Horseshoe (Hamilton College, the Admissions office, and the Study Abroad office all come to mind).

 

It is a big concerning that this would all be delayed until probably 2016 or beyond, but that will at least give the school time to line up funding. I have a feeling the pricetag will be much higher than $125M when you consider the extent of asbestos abatement and structural retrofitting that will have to occur for what I expect to be a full gut. I wonder how they plan to make the basement feel more basement-ey- perhaps some time of central atrium to bring in natural light?

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A bunch of news by the Daily Gamecock today (surprising since it's gone downhill this year):

 

1. USC is launching a $27.5M expansion of the Student Health Center that will expand capacity 30%.

 

2. A $30.5M renovation to Bates West will add 600 beds (not sure how?).

 

3. The current Law Center is getting a $25M renovation that will likely turn it into a science building, which will add to the cluster of ugly lab buildings along Main Street.

 

http://www.dailygamecock.com/article/2013/11/board-approves-construction-plans

 

4. The public/private dorm announced previously will be 919 beds and the school is authorizing six new houses in the parking lots next to the Colonial Life Arena.

 

http://www.dailygamecock.com/article/2013/12/new-housing-plans-follow-national-trend

 

5. S&S Art Supply is closing. No surprise considering its location and that art supplies are not exactly the hot items in retail.

 

http://www.dailygamecock.com/article/2013/12/main-street-mainstay-ss-art-supply-to-close

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Construction is about to start on the new Journalism School, right across from the Education building. This is a big step toward converting the Colisum into a second student center a la Russell House. The renderings look awesome.

 

http://www.wltx.com/news/article/261781/2/Construction-Begins-on-New-USC-Journalism-School?odyssey=tab%7Ctopnews%7Cbc%7Clarge

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Construction is about to start on the new Journalism School, right across from the Education building. This is a big step toward converting the Colisum into a second student center a la Russell House. The renderings look awesome.

 

http://www.wltx.com/news/article/261781/2/Construction-Begins-on-New-USC-Journalism-School?odyssey=tab%7Ctopnews%7Cbc%7Clarge

If you want to see more of the renderings go to http://uofscjournalismbuilding.com

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Does anyone know what changes to South Tower were approved at the Board meeting yesterday? The Daily Gamecock article did not provide much detail, though it did go into depth about the previously mentioned Williams-Brice promenade renovations and indoor practice facility.

 

http://www.dailygamecock.com/article/2014/02/trustees-approve-stadium-renovation-funds

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Does anyone know what changes to South Tower were approved at the Board meeting yesterday? The Daily Gamecock article did not provide much detail, though it did go into depth about the previously mentioned Williams-Brice promenade renovations and indoor practice facility.

 

http://www.dailygamecock.com/article/2014/02/trustees-approve-stadium-renovation-funds

I saw this as well, and wondered about possible scenarios. I'd love to see ST updated in the same style Patterson was renovated, and they'd remain "sisters". But the article was indeed vague & the broad use of "renovations" could mean anything from updated bathrooms or replacing the roof, to a comprehensive renovation. 

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It turns out the school is just doing $3.2M of bathroom renovations. The Building and Ground Committee minutes from November had some interesting information, though. Highlights for FY2014:

 

  • USC set aside $5M for a land acquisition from SCANA to the east of Assembly Street. I believe this is the land at the bend across from the proposed Kroger. According to the Master Plan, the land will eventually be used as intramural fields since it lies along to creek flood plain.
  • The WWI War Memorial at Pendleton and Sumter will be renovated for $3M. It has been closed for years, so it should be interesting to visit.
  • The current law school, which should accommodate the HRSM school when the new building is finished, will undergo $25M of classroom and laboratory redevelopment (the latter presumably as overflow from the science buildings across Main).

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This story has been pretty well reported by the local press, but has not been discussed on here to my knowledge. USC and Vulcan, the owner of the quarry, are bidding on the land between the Gamecock Village (former Farmer's Market) and the river. 

 

http://www.dailygamecock.com/article/2014/09/bidding-war-for-lot-off-bluff-road

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I got to see the business school in person this weekend. I didn't realize how much it stands out, even from up Assembly, and how physically imposing it is from Colonial Life. That will be a huge recruiting tool for us.

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http://www.quackenbusharchitects.com/projects/usc-student-health-center/

 

This pales in comparison to the original site plan, which was to be designed in partnership with Perkins + Will. I attended the first student & faculty input meeting (turned out to be the only one ever held), back in 2013, and the plan, design, etc of the new health center at that time was spectacular. Not to mention, the old, brutalist era health center was to be demolished in the original plan. 

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