First impressions are everything. When students consider the university that they will call home for the next four years, they talk to their friends, teachers and guidance counselors. They conduct online research. But the clincher is the campus visit.
That’s why the university’s Visitors Center is so crucial to the Clemson experience. It’s the calling card of the main campus and for many, it tips the scales in favor of a Clemson education.
Beginning Dec. 18, The Class of 1944 Visitors Center will move to the Strom Thurmond building at 230 Kappa Street. The building has been renovated and the center will share its new home with the Division of Research office and the Special Collections Library.
The move has taken a year to plan, according to Helen Adams, Clemson’s senior director of visitor services. There’s a lot to consider. Along with the obvious—moving office furniture, switching phone lines and rerouting servers, there are other considerations—retraining the more than 50 student volunteers who regularly lead tours, changing tour routes and creating new messaging for the tours, which will begin and end in a completely new part of the main campus.
But with all the items that she has to check off her relocation list, Adams is excited about the move—for the simple reason that it’s a larger space. As such, the new facilities are expected to better accommodate a larger contingent of students and their families.
“When our current visitor center was built, we had around 15,000 visitors a year,” Adams explained. “Now we’re hosting around 65,000 annually. Our current facility was not designed for that many people.”
Adams said that the new space will include an auditorium that will seat 250 guests, 100 more than the current space accommodates.
Key in the success of the new space is the branding. While Clemson engaged an outside architect and contractors to rebuild the space, it needed to create a brand identity. For that crucial aspect, Clemson engaged its own branding experts in University Relations. Executive director of University Marketing Christine Green said that the new space will emphasize digital assets as a way to present information to student prospects and their families. The digital technology, she said, will boost overall visual engagement with the space.
Additionally, Green said that the new center will provide an immersive branded experience throughout the space, with design elements that highlight the university’s commitment to research, engagement and social collaboration.
“We want the design elements to showcase ‘Why Clemson’ and provide an insight into our identity as a university,” she said.
Campus tours begin from the new space in January.