To understand that there has been a lot of construction going on at the College this summer, all you had to do is step outside and listen. On any given day, you’d hear cranes churning at the Rita Hollings Science Center, hammers pounding at 11 Glebe St. and the high-pitch whine of power tools around Rutledge Rivers Residence Hall. And those are only three of nearly 10 projects that have been going on since last year.
All of this activity – over $80 million worth of renovations – represents important progress for the College, says Monica Scott, vice president for facilities planning. “These new and renovated facilities are essential components of the College’s 2012 Master Plan, a comprehensive document that was inspired by Gateways to Greatness, our bold and visionary strategic plan,” says Scott. “All of these physical improvements were identified as critical to the College realizing the vision of this plan.”
The most visible of these projects is the ongoing work at Rita Hollings Science Center at the corner of George and Coming streets. Project manager Ben Miehe explains that this 150,000-square-foot building was emptied out last year, and workers have subsequently gutted the interior to make way for over 30 new teaching and research laboratories, classrooms, collaboration spaces, and faculty offices.
Miehe says that when finished – the completion date is set for the summer of 2017 – the science center will also feature a large telescope dome and a publicly accessible roof deck with telescope mounts.
Alongside that project, workers are also building a new facility to replace Physicians Auditorium. The new auditorium space will be much more versatile, with retractable walls that enable flexible applications depending upon the size needed for a given event. The upper floors of the new auditorium will house faculty offices.
At the same time, a number of the College’s historic homes have also seen renovations, including 11 Glebe St., which is now the new headquarters for the School of Languages, Cultures and World Affairs. That building, which was built around 1850, received structural and cosmetic updates over the span of a six-month renovation.
Less visible is the work that has been going on at the College’s newest property at 176 Lockwood Blvd, near the Ashley River. The interior of this three-story, circa-1989 building is being renovated to house the College’s Office of Procurement, the Controller’s Office and the Riley Center for Livable Communities. Procurement and controller staff will have offices on the third floor, and the Riley Center will occupy the second floor. The first floor will remain an entrance lobby. Renovations for the Riley Center include installing a dedicated room for conducting focus groups replete with a two-way mirror and video observation. There will also be a multipurpose room on this floor that will serve as meeting space.
The renovations at Rutledge Rivers Residence Hall included a total gutting of the building and stripping of the exterior brick. This facility, which houses 109 students, is now clad in stucco and nearly everything within the interior is new. According to Robert Lucas, the project manager for this renovation, each suite now has an enlarged common area (with natural light) and all the interior amenities – cooktops, refrigerators, cabinets, sinks, shower stalls, countertops and furniture – are brand new. All interior lighting is LED, meaning greater illumination at a more economical cost. In addition, the architects redesigned the first floor to include a common room with a lounge and kitchen as well as a new laundry room and a dedicated meeting room with a whiteboard and modulated LED lighting.
Aside from these projects, crews have also been conducting renovations and updates at several sites across campus, including the first floor of Robert Scott Small Building, the Physical Plant on Calhoun Street and the parking and seating area behind Marty’s Place, the College’s newest eatery.
For an overview of other campus buildings and locations, visit the College’s facilities webpage.