UofSC to elevate campus living with new housing megaproject
University of South Carolina (UofSC) has received state approval for an ambitious student housing redevelopment project that, upon completion, promises to transform the campus experience for future recruits.
The new Campus Village to be built at the corner of Sumter and Whaley streets will not only accommodate up to 1,800 students but will also feature a series of living-learning spaces from a dining hall to an academic support space, sundry shop, coffee shop and a campus safety office.
— BOOniversity of South Carolina 👻 (@UofSC) October 21, 2019
The idea, according to university architect Derek Gruner, is to provide UofSC students with a well-integrated residential environment that blends living, dining and meeting, allowing them to both learn and socialise within the campus complex.
These features, he added, are all “in high demand on the campus.”
According to University of South Carolina, students in on-campus housing tend to perform better academically and are more likely to complete their studies.
But due to growth reasons, residing on-campus is currently available to all freshmen but very few upperclassmen. The addition of 1,500 beds to the school’s housing portfolio with the Campus Village development could help alleviate this problem.
University of South Carolina also foresees that the added housing would be able to accommodate its growth plans.
“The Campus Village project will allow us to better serve the needs of generations of future Gamecocks,” says university President Bob Caslen.
“It is a proven fact that grade point averages and retention rates increase with first-year on-campus housing, and this project will facilitate an additional 1,500 beds.
“I thank our university project team, our neighborhood, city and state leaders, and our legislative officials who worked together to make this ambitious concept a reality. Through close collaboration, Campus Village will be a historic undertaking of which we can all be proud.”
Campus Village, billed as the most ambitious capital project undertaken by the university to date, will feature four five- to- six-storey red brick structures. Spaces between each housing block will be filled with green spaces and expansive courtyards.
Enhanced shuttle service, bike paths and pedestrian walkways will promise a well-connected campus, encourage healthy walking and discourage automobile use.
“With this new residential community, the perception of a sprawling urban campus is scaled down into a more intimate neighborhood experience,” says UofSC landscape architect and project manager Emily Jones.
“Significantly, the project will reimagine an area of campus so that it is transformed by design, inspired by the areas of the University of South Carolina campus that we most revere.
“The architecture of the new buildings and the landscape will respect historic values as well as contemporary campus design guidelines.”
Work on the US$210 million project will be done by South Carolina-based Greystar, one of the country’s largest developers of collegiate properties. The school’s development agreement with the firm stipulates that Campus Village facilities will be owned by former and managed by the latter.
Housing operations and student support, on the other hand, will be managed and provided for by the university.
Not everyone at the university is as thrilled by the project, however. According to news reports, the redevelopment will force 255 students living at Cliff Apartments, which sits at the project site, to find new housing.
A report by The Post and Courier said to meet its planned opening date and avoid higher costs, the university needed to move students after the fall semester. The school has pledged to find on-campus alternatives for the displaced students but parents and students alike say the timing of the move was disruptive and unfair.