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College Town Updates

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This thread is for news, statistics, updates, and developments related to any of the six colleges in Spartanburg:

Links:

CollegeTown

University of South Carolina Upstate

Wofford College

Converse College

Spartanburg Methodist College

Spartanburg Community College

Sherman College of Straight Chiropractic

Obviously special projects like the USC Upstate College of Business & Economics will continue to have special threads.

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The Herald-Journal will publish a series that covers each institution and plans for the future over the next week. I look forward to seeing what the schools have planned.

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USC Upstate Article

The article on USC Upstate was an interesting read. To me, it highlights the fact that our state has some major priority issues when it comes to funding education. USC Upstate is growing at a healthy pace. 46% growth over the last 10 years. The current student population is about 5,000, and there are projects that indicate Upstate will be at 7000 in 10 years, but the campus leaders think it will be beyond that. The leaders also envision a campus that is 40-50% residential, which would be a huge improvement over today. If this were to happen it would dramatically change the perspective of Upstate being a commuter school.

To accommodate growth, the University has its 10 year Master Plan, which you can see here. The plan has built or plans to build the following:

uscupstate_health_ed.jpg

Perspective_jpg.jpg

USCS_masterplan.jpg

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One thing that was not addressed by the university or the article is the area around campus. One of the major complaints I have heard about USC Upstate is not about the school, but that there is nothing to do nearby. The closest grouping of restaurants is on Asheville Hwy, Pinewood Shopping Center or Boiling Springs. Meanwhile, right accross I-585 is a slightly seedy neighborhood. IMO this is a prime opportunity for student rental housing. Either way, the area around the university reflects poorly on the university. If they can't help to generate things to walk to like every other major university has, then I think USC Upstate will continue to be a commuter school.

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There is also an article about the USC Upstate sports facilities, and their expansion. They are currently working on a new track and field complex. Upstate moved to Division I recently, so their sports programs have to expand accordingly (with Title IX, and what not). I wonder if Upstate will ever consider football?

Article

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I don't see any updates on this one today...

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Wofford Article

This article highlights Wofford's strategic growth plan as well as phase 3 of their housing units called "the village". It is a very cool concept in housing which is set-up more like a community rather than dorms or apartments. They have also lowered their teacher-student ration to 11:1.

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Wofford's northward expansion, along with Regional's southward expansion and the literal squeezing out of the East Pearl neighborhood has been a bit frustrating to me. Its ironic that they would brag about creating a new sense of community while they are destroying an older one. I would personally like to see the existing homes preserved in some way, perhaps as faculty housing or even student housing. The neighborhood is pretty much a loss now, but I think the houses should still be preserved.

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Wofford's northward expansion, along with Regional's southward expansion and the literal squeezing out of the East Pearl neighborhood has been a bit frustrating to me. Its ironic that they would brag about creating a new sense of community while they are destroying an older one. I would personally like to see the existing homes preserved in some way, perhaps as faculty housing or even student housing. The neighborhood is pretty much a loss now, but I think the houses should still be preserved.

Except for the house that sits on the corner of Evins/Church, most all of these house are nothing more than row houses or mill houses. They are not the bungalow type you see in Hampton Heights or Converse Heights. There is really nothing left of that neighborhood as it had been reduced to rentals and the city began to condemn the houses starting back in the mid to early 90's. It was inevitable that SRMC and Wofford would squeeze that community at some point. Its called progress.

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Progress, in my eyes, does not come at the expense of history. We've already leveled most of our iconic buildings and cut the size of what was the historic part of downtown to about two blocks... all in the name of "progress." And where are we now? Then there are other cities who haven't taken the same route who's stature is much higher than ours. The neighborhoods of this city are the next important thing that we can't let let slip away. At this point, East Pearl is a loss, so I don't care if they tear down the rest of it since its inevitable anyway. However, there are some bungalow type houses in there. They are not as glamorous as the ones in Converse Heights, but they are there nonetheless, and if we can find a way to keep them around I think it would be a good thing. There are many more mill homes behind Wofford on the opposite side of the tracks, in what used to be associated with Beaumont. Once you tear down an old building, you never get it back. I would like to see some sort of historic review board formed so have the final say about what can and cannot be torn down (because I do recognize that some places just need to go).

Mill houses are an interesting thing. They don't look like much but they can be fixed up. There is a whole neighborhood of mill houses in Charlotte that has been fixed up over time. Its to the point now that the mill houses, while they used to be all the same design, have been modified and added into in some cases over the years so each house is different from the next. I see no reason why this can't be done in Spartanburg (particularly in Beaumont moreso than East Pearl).

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Would you rather have a state of the art hospital that can help save lives in every instance instead of a halfway existing neighborhood like East Pearl? I mean its not like the neighborhood just all of a sudden went downhill. It had become a haven for drugs and gangs way back when. I am not for destroying neighborhoods, but when they are so far down that the process becomes irrevearseable, you need to move forward. Wofford gave those homeowners far more $$$ for their homes than they were worth down on Cumming, Swain, Thomas, & Osage Street and on Pearl. This in turn cleared the way for the new stadium for the Terriers and the practices fields and facilities that helped Jerry Richardson bring the Panthers to Spartanburg to pump money into the local economy. This also brought way more jobs to the hospital via expansion. Are you against this? I thought you were in favor of bringing white color jobs to downtown.

As for the mill houses, they can be nice but would you really by choice want to live in a 1200 sq/ft house that is 60 years old and has 8' X 8' bedrooms (if that) and is heated with fuel oil (very costly)? I am not knocking Beaumont or any other mill community, but those houses stopped being maintained when the mill closed and nothing is really gonna bring it back. Developers have talked of condos and lofts at Converse, Clifton, & Glendale for years and nothing has ever happened. This could revitalize those areas except at Beaumont where the mill no longer stands and thus would have no effect on downtown.

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Spartanburg Regional is not downtown. Its in town, but it contributes nothing to downtown directly. Indirectly, people probably DRIVE to downtown. Wofford is on the edge of what I would consider downtown, and it contributes relatively little. Infact, they have gone to great pains to separate themselves from the city by lining the campus with Magnolias.

I have never said that the process they are using to destroy this neighborhood is not fair to the homeowners financially. Nobody is being forced out. I simply think that its wrong to think that simply because a neighborhood is crime-ridden, or a haven for drugs and gangs, that it can't be brought back. If that were the case Hampton Heights would be a total loss, and we'd be destroying the most unique neighborhood in this city.

Living in other cities has given me a different perspective for what can happen in Spartanburg. The neighborhood of North Charlotte was almost exactly as you described- a crime-infested drug haven complete with gangs and undesirable activities. This mill village has reinvented itself as "NoDa" and is now a very desirable location. The mill houses that were once falling a apart are now being fixed up and added on to. The modern conveniences are being retrofitted into the neighborhood. Is it cheap? Nope. But it can be done, and its all being done by the private sector with the help of some redevelopment grants and low cost loans for being in a historic area. You just have to see beyond the current, dilapidated state to what these places can really become.

Here is a picture of the small shopping/dining district in Noda:

muse-corner.jpg

Now check out these houses in NoDa. The ugly one in the foreground is your standard "North Charlotte" mill house. Its about 1100 or 1200 sqft and very unassuming, and kind of run down. Most of the houses in this area had the exact same floor plan when they were built and they all originally looked like this one. Not unlike what you'd find in Spartanburg, right? Well, take a look at the house to the left of it. Its been renovated. It looks substantially different. The square footage has doubled to about 2500 sq ft. Its a very nice looking, modern home with all of the standard modern conveniences. Give me one good reason this can't happen in Spartanburg?

noda6.jpg

With the right tax incentives and investment in infrastructure, schools, police and the recruitment of white collar jobs, we can see the same thing happen in Spartanburg. The NoDa rebirth was pioneered by a variety of people, but most notably young professionals.

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Lets take some of these points one at a time. If the way you say it about East Pearl and Wofford contributing nothing to downtown directly, who is there to contribute directly to help get downtown going. If we are counting on Hampton Heights, I assume Converse Heights (you can't leave these jackasses out of anything), and whoever actually lives downtown to be the sole supporters of downtown, then nothing is ever gonna change down there as there are not enough participants and or money. I can't find the thread (nor do I have time to look for it), but I think it was under Intown Neighborhoods where you spoke of folks over off Liberty St in Beaumont being able to walk to certain restaurants and contribute I assume to downtown. The folks that used to be over at East Pearl, or the folks at Regional, or the kids at Wofford are a heck of a lot closer to downtown and I also believe that they contribute greatly to downtown whether buying lunch downtown or hopping bars at night (this is where Wofford comes in).

I know about where you are talking about in Charlotte and yes it was a crime-infested neighborhood. However I think it has been redeveloped simply because downtown Charlotte has nowhere else to grow. This is not the case here in the "SC". There are plenty of places to grow, downtown is just not on that list. If it were the Oakland Ave area would have been snapped up by now. All of the Converse St area leading to Duncan Park would have been bought up. The Spartan Mill area over off Howard St and West Main and Forest would be gone as well. Can all these neighborhoods be saved and redeveloped or rebuilt and revitalized (lot of re's here)? Certainly and I hope they one day are. However its gonna come down to the $$$ and the desire and right now, both are in short supply for these neighborhoods.

And not to be racist or gender sensitive, but here's your reason as to why this is not going to happen in the "SC" anytime soon. Until some whites express a desire to move into any of the neighborhoods above then nothing is going to change. If it were, it would have and should have by now. Furthermore many of the young professionals that I know do not live here, but in Greenville. How's that for a slap in the face to the "SC"? Folks are willing to pay $3-$4 gas per gallon to drive here to work but not to stay because after work there is nothing to do.

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NoDa didn't redevelop because Charlotte has nowhere else to grow. Charlotte is growing in leaps an bounds in almost all directions as one of the fastest growing metro areas in the nation. NoDa and the other 1st ring suburbs have redeveloped or are redeveloping because of the proximity to uptown as an employment center.

When I think of what makes up downtown, I don't think of Regional. I chose my words carefully because I do think that Regional's employees contribute to downtown, but you will note that I said "indirectly." Those jobs do contribute to the young professional and white collar job presence in the city as you said. No argument there.

Like I said, the mill village redevelopment is not just going to magically happen. It will take a lot of things coming together at the right time. It will take tax incentives to get the ball rolling and people willing to invest. My perspective is that I think it can and will happen some day. You're still assuming the status quo will not change, and I think that as things are changing in the center of the city, more people will want to live closer in to town. Not everyone wants to live in a subdivision in Boiling Springs, The demand for walkable neighborhoods is a nationwide trend even if it hasn't caught on in Spartanburg just yet. People need and want housing options, both urban, suburban, and rural... and as a community we are not doing a good job of proving options. We have a great urban housing stock, it just needs some TLC.

You'll see more transition closer to Converse Heights and Hampton Heights first. South Converse seems like the best candidate wince its adjacent to downtown, near Converse Heights, Pine St School, the rail trail, and Duncan Park (the neighborhood and the park). There's also Beaumont... if that can change, then why not Drayton and then Cleveland Park, etc, etc.? I'm not saying it will be easy or that it will happen over night. Infact, I expect that the area around Una will remain in its dilapidated state for many years to come. NoDa's redevelopment has taken the better part of a decade and its still an ongoing process. But it all comes back to preserving the neighborhoods that we have now in physical form for the next generation to deal with. If we level it all now, or even let one house at a time fall away over theyears then we're stuck with the same situation we have downtown. All of the things that make downtown Greenville great are exactly what we lack because we tore all of ours down (Greenville got where it is without the river, as that only became a centerpiece in the last 3 or 4 years). We had more than they did at one time and we threw it all away.... in the name of progress no less.

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I know the mill redevelopment is not going to magically happen. What I do know is that it is unfortunately not going to happen anytime soon because there is no incentive for it to. I am not assuming the status quo, I am just speaking from experience (44 years of it). Hampton Heights was a dump going back to even before I was born. Only in the last 2-3 years have efforts picked up steam. I mean "eventually" if we stay there long enough, we'll win the battle in Iraq. Eventually USC might play in a BCS bowl game that really matters. Eventually, I'll be well off enough where I can slow down working and get on city/county council and make a difference in this town. The point being is that I am tired of people in this town accepting what is given to them and thinking "eventually" things are gonna change. Things don't change unless you make them change. Bad neighborhoods don't get better until the citizens take a stand and say enough (of course a little help from public safety is nice also. I am just really tired of waiting. I have been here my whole life and for the most part nothing has changed. We still shop at basically the same places (Westgate, because there's nowhere else), eat at the same restaurants (because no one supports the new ones), and drink at the NuWay. And on top of that, we actually do have a majority of our old buildings. The ones we do not have were going to cave in anyway. I think GDJ's buildings are a nice addition to downtown. If it bothers you, just pretend that some of our buildings were bombed in the war on terror and are now being rebuilt.

I'm sorry to turn this into a rant and move off topic but I might as well do it on this thread or any other one. I truly think there is only a minority of folks that want the "SC" to change or move forward. I have cast my lot and chosen to stay with my business and personal life. However there are a good portion of my friends that could care less if things move forward downtown. Give them a Target on the east side and they are happy. Make it where they never have to pass Church St and venture to the west side and they are happy. In fact they might even be happy if they never had to go past Pine St except for church on Sunday. Me, I'd rather spend my time away from work downtown doing something to help downtown businesses. To me, the coolest places in any city are downtown whether they are bars, restaurants, parks, retail, etc. I just think on the whole, no one shares what I feel and it pisses me off to no end.

Sorry again for the rant, but its been a crappy day! By the way, has anyone ever ridden through the Lyman mill village. It is prestine! Ride through the next time you are over that way and dream of what Beaumont can be, "eventually".

Edited by Sparkleman

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I agree 100%. I think that you and I agree on more than we admit even though we argue about the nuances of how it might happen. It sounds like we both want the same things to happen. People have to believe and act upon those beliefs. I still think that it comes down to a design issue, among other things. The downtown that we have today is not designed well. The urban code that is proposed will help to address this issue. If you go to successful downtowns, you will notice that they all have one thing in common, and thats a quality urban design and usually some historic quality. The same is true with the surrounding neighborhoods. Spartanburg has these qualities, it just has yet to enforce the design requirements to require downtown to have a certain look and feel.

IMO one of the other things that is holding Spartanburg back is the recognition that local government plays an active role in shaping the future of the community. People in Spartanburg are too quick to assume all government is bad without realizing that certain aspects of it are infact needed to maintain a high quality of life.

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Sparkleman, many of us share your opinions, but feel unable to change anything and the frustration wears on year after year. City leaders and the demographics of SC make it next to impossible to change anything in a meaningful way, but I have discovered in the last week that my family of five will be moving from Boiling Springs to a new home in downtown. We are going to build on an infill lot, but I am very leary of this move. I am not scared of crime or any of the normal things you might expect, but the small property size that I've never really wanted. My wife is a city girl and I am a country guy. The wife wants it, so we're going to try it!!! The good part I suppose is I will now be able to raise a little hell with a greater influence, since I wll be able to vote and participate in more City matters. It is refreshing to hear you and Spartan spar a little with such passion. If we had more people as interested as you, things could begin to change much faster.

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Give them a Target on the east side and they are happy. Make it where they never have to pass Church St and venture to the west side and they are happy. In fact they might even be happy if they never had to go past Pine St except for church on Sunday.

That would be me except my church is on Fernwood-Glendale! I hardly go to the west side now. I just really want that Target and a book store, and I'll go over there even less. ;-)

I've lived here since downtown was the only shopping district, Hillcrest ended just beyond Garner's breezeway and Westgate was a peach orchard; I've lived here when downtown was dead as a doornail. It's nice to see restaurants and businesses and residents there again, but honestly, I don't see it becoming the main shopping district ever again. Nor do I particularly want it to be.

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^It won't. Downtown will be more of an entertainment district with small "boutique" shops. At least not for the forseeable future. And thats an acceptable goal for now. I would like to see enough basic stores so that you can live in downtown and not have to drive to get your basic errands done. So, something like an urban grocer, a pharmacy, a few restaurants, a dry cleaners, and other basic needs of that nature. I wouldn't want or expect major Westgate shopping to come back to downtown even though I wouldn't object if it were done correctly.

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Sparkleman, many of us share your opinions, but feel unable to change anything and the frustration wears on year after year. City leaders and the demographics of SC make it next to impossible to change anything in a meaningful way, but I have discovered in the last week that my family of five will be moving from Boiling Springs to a new home in downtown. We are going to build on an infill lot, but I am very leary of this move. I am not scared of crime or any of the normal things you might expect, but the small property size that I've never really wanted. My wife is a city girl and I am a country guy. The wife wants it, so we're going to try it!!! The good part I suppose is I will now be able to raise a little hell with a greater influence, since I wll be able to vote and participate in more City matters. It is refreshing to hear you and Spartan spar a little with such passion. If we had more people as interested as you, things could begin to change much faster.

Several questions here to several people. Where are you going to build and what is an infill lot? My wife grew up in Boiling Springs and when we go up to see her folks, thankfully its on Sunday where the traffic is milder. I am no huge fan of the city but the traffic in BS is brutal.

To Spartan- I think we do agree on a lot although we argue in many different ways on how to achieve it. Its actually very healthy and stress relieving. Now kind of back on the topic of college towns. Still to Spartan, but everyone feel free to chime in here. Why has no one ever thought to put a cool bar/restaurant very close to Wofford or for that matter between Wofford and Converse? There was a restaurant once that was beside the old Harris Teeter on the east side called Mama Burritto (or something like that) that was going to close and move into bigger diggs down on Daniel Morgan near Pittsburgh Paint but it never happened. I went there a few times and it was pretty good. I think it or something like it would do really well down there especially since the GDJ School of Business is coming. Don't you (all) think Daniel Morgan Ave could house some really cool places down from the Marriot and behind Barnett? I know the car lots are there, but they don't really get in the way that much. Thoughts? If not there, why not put something where the Krispey Kreme Doughnuts used to be? Not only could the Wofford crowd use it, but so would the Auditorium. Specialty coffees and drinks or something like that.

Just thinking out loud here...

PS to Jael- Once you get the Target and bookstore, will you still come downtown and referee an argument between Spartan and myself over a pint? :)

Edited by Sparkleman

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PS to Jael- Once you get the Target and bookstore, will you still come downtown and referee an argument between Spartan and myself over a pint? :)

Only if I can park right in front!! :whistling:

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Infill lots are vacant pieces of property where no building exists. The area around them has usually been built out for sometime. The lot that we are purchasing has been in a family estate for decades and until a recent death wasn't available for sale.

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More specifically, infill development is used to describe something new in a built up part of town. It can be a vacant lot or sometimes its taking an existing building and tearing it down or radically altering it. So pretty much anything that have done or will do with the Renaissance Park property is considered "infill" development, along with all of the new buildings that they have built downtown in the past few years. You would not consider a new home or business in Boiling Springs or Roebuck to be infill.

To Spartan- I think we do agree on a lot although we argue in many different ways on how to achieve it. Its actually very healthy and stress relieving.

Hah, good to know :) Its always good to get as many perspectives as possible on here. Sometimes I get caught up in the vision while not considering the reality.

Now kind of back on the topic of college towns. Still to Spartan, but everyone feel free to chime in here. Why has no one ever thought to put a cool bar/restaurant very close to Wofford or for that matter between Wofford and Converse? There was a restaurant once that was beside the old Harris Teeter on the east side called Mama Burritto (or something like that) that was going to close and move into bigger diggs down on Daniel Morgan near Pittsburgh Paint but it never happened. I went there a few times and it was pretty good. I think it or something like it would do really well down there especially since the GDJ School of Business is coming. Don't you (all) think Daniel Morgan Ave could house some really cool places down from the Marriot and behind Barnett? I know the car lots are there, but they don't really get in the way that much. Thoughts? If not there, why not put something where the Krispey Kreme Doughnuts used to be? Not only could the Wofford crowd use it, but so would the Auditorium. Specialty coffees and drinks or something like that.

I am surprised there are not more restaurants that cater to them. Wofford and Converse students both use downtown businesses all the time. When I am home I find that Mellow Mushroom and Sonny's are always packed with them. Go figure... college students and pizza. What a concept!

Back when the Spartanburg Journal printed TBA's, they announced that there was some interest in converting one of the buildings on College St immediately across from Wofford into a restaurant of some sort. I want to say it was pizza, but this has been a year or so ago, so I'm not 100% sure on that. Anyway, it would have been targeting Wofford students. I'm not sure what ever came of that. I think that there is a lot of opportunity to build a college bar/restaurant type of district in Spartanburg. I have since hear that there is some interest in using College St and Magnolia as the "pedestrian street" into the heard of downtown. The idea being to connect Wofford to the Square without using Church St since SCDOT will never allow it to be narrowed for more pedestrian friendly uses.

As for East Daniel Morgan towards the old greyhound depot and VicBailey's compound, I am not sure what will happen with that. I think that it's direction in life will be determined by what happens with this proposed "new urban" development on the Renaissance Park site. If that is done correctly, it should theoretically spur additional redevelopment and infill projects over time. Personally I would like to see US29 rerouted from St John using Daniel Morgan as the "downtown bypass" so that St John St can be removed from the SCDOT umbrella. If St John can be narrowed and have on street parking and wider sidewalks I think we'll be able to better connect the area around the Square to the Marriott and the Park with a more pedestrian friendly environment.

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Ok, there have been a few articles about each school over the past week or so, but I didn't think that any other school had a noteworth grwoth plan. Wofford, Converse, and SMC both want to remain more or less the same size... growing by only a few hundred.

Spartanburg Community College, however, appears to have much higher aspirations. They don't specify many numbers other than "10,000", but this article in the HJ today talks about their need for more academic buildings and the recent developments of the Tyger River Campus as well as the Cherokee Campus.

The most interesting part of the entire article is this quote, which speaks for itself:

"...a possible downtown Spartanburg facility sometime in the next five years."

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This thread hasn't seen any activity in a while, but I figured it would be the best place for this.

An article in the Spartanburg Journal states that Wofford College is going to build a 52,000 square foot mixed-use building fronting Evins Street as the final phase of its senior village project. The building will have career placement offices, classrooms, a deli, and a small grocery store on the ground floor, while the upper 2 floors will contain apartment-style housing for 80 seniors. The article mentions completion sometime next year, which would be quick, as I don't think construction has even started yet.

Interestingly, the City had to grant Wofford a zoning variance because the building will not meet set-back restrictions.

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This weeks Spartanburg Journal has a rendering of the building and it really looks good. Go Wofford!!!

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Interesting. Can anyone post the image? Us ex-pats can't see the paper copy :whistling:

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