Clemson’s main campus is about to get much-needed improvements. Clemson’s Board of Trustees, the South Carolina Budget and Control Board and other entities recently approved the university’s Core Campus project.
To be located adjacent to the Johnstone complex in the heart of Clemson’s main campus, the $96 million Core Campus project will feature a 260,000-square-foot mixed-use facility that will include student housing and dining facilities. The facility will offer approximately 700 beds in the residential portion of the project, add a 1,000-seat dining hall and retail dining options to replace the aging Harcombe facility and administrative support spaces. The complex will also include approximately 5,000 feet of space dedicated to seminar and meeting areas for faculty and students.
Clemson students, who recently conducted a Social Media campaign under the #ClemsonNeeds hashtag are excited about the project.
“Clemson students have needed these new housing developments for many years now,” said student body President Kayley Seawright. “Facilities play an integral role in not only campus life but also in recruitment. If we want to continue to bring the best students to the state of South Carolina, we need the state support to invest in these competitive facilities.”
What this means for Clemson
University data indicates that Clemson students who live on campus for the first two years have significantly higher GPAs and graduation rates.
This project is part of Clemson’s 20-year Housing Master Plan, which uses a variety of ways to address the university’s housing strategy. The plan calls for new construction to replace older buildings that have large deferred maintenance needs, but are functionally obsolete for today’s college student, or financially obsolete due to its value, cost to renovate and replacement value. Core Campus is in part replacement housing for the remaining section of Johnstone Hall, which was built in 1955.
Doug Hallenbeck, associate vice president for Student Affairs and executive director of University Housing and Dining, maintains that the new facility will invigorate the center of campus.
“Core Campus is the first step in revitalizing the Clemson campus experience. This will be a dynamic housing and dining community that will transform the core of campus into a dynamic hub of activity not only for the students that live there, but also for all the Clemson family.”
Hallenbeck also contends that updated facilities will contribute to student recruitment. Market survey data indicates that there is a decline in the percentage of students who live on campus. Additionally, students who went elsewhere to college listed housing as a reason why they did not choose Clemson.
“When students come to campus to visit as they are making their decision on where to go to school, our facilities have to be able to compete with other schools,” he said. “New housing and dining facilities put us in a position to compete for the best and brightest students. The quality of campus facilities is an indicator on the value the institution puts on the quality of the experience and education.”
Construction on the project is expected to begin this summer.