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February 11, 2013 4:43 PM

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Geographically, Columbia — the state capital — is in the center of the state, with a two-hour drive from either the Atlantic coast or the Blue Ridge Mountains, and about halfway between New York City and Miami, with easy access to interstate highways. Not just the center of state government, Columbia also is home to the main campus of the University of South Carolina (with 27,000 students) and its developing research park, Innovista, and to Fort Jackson — the country's largest U.S. Army basic training base.

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