University of South Carolina seeks developers to build dorms, classrooms

09/21/2012 2:32 PM

09/21/2012 6:21 PM

The University of South Carolina will ask for bids next month to have a private developer build a dorm and academic center on school-owned land near Colonial Life Arena.

The growth of off-campus housing developments, such as The Woodlands on Shop Road, has spurred USC to team with developers to keep more students on campus.

More than 22,000 students live off campus -- many in the dozen complexes built near the school in recent years. Another four developments are in planning stages with two not far from the area where USC and private firms could build.

Developers could build a dorm with more than 500 beds and a building with at least 60,000-square-feet of classroom space when school starts in fall 2014, USC chief financial officer Ed Walton said. The projects have an estimated cost of about $35 million.

At least three developers, some with complexes already in Columbia, have approached school officials about partnering on housing, Walton said.

The privately developed university housing would have the same rules as other dorms on campus and would likely include university staff to help oversee students, said Dennis Pruitt, USC’s vice president for student affairs.

The new dorm is aimed at upperclassmen who want to live closer to campus but want private bedrooms. Freshmen will continue to live in traditional university housing, Pruitt said.

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