The University of South Carolina plans to transform the south side of its campus with a village that includes new student housing towers.
The state’s largest college is seeking a private developer to build and operate the new housing, similar to the apartments that opened behind the Carolina Coliseum this year.
The developer could lease the property for up to 40 years. The school also would share in the profits from renting rooms to students at the village, bordered by Pickens, Heyward and Sumter streets.
USC likely would put up no or little money for the project upfront, school spokesman Wes Hickman said.
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Plans call for tearing down four residence halls with 1,200 beds — Bates House, Bates West, Cliff Apartments and Carolina Gardens — and replacing them with three- to six-story towers that could have as many as 4,000 beds.
USC wants 1,500 beds available by July 2018 in the project’s first phase, according to planning documents. Work would be completed over the next decade.
Developers are being asked to keep existing housing open while working on the new towers.
The 18-acre campus village, in what is considered an underused part of the campus, also would include dining facilities, recreation space and parking.
No cost estimates were included in the plans. The number of housing towers will be up to the developer, Hickman said.
“It will help redefine that area of the campus,” Hickman said.
The USC board and state regulators must give final approval to the plans.
The project is near the school’s athletics village, which includes an academic enrichment center and administrative office as well as the soccer and softball fields, a track-and-field complex, and tennis courts.
USC president Harris Pastides said last month the state’s flagship college planned to continue expanding after completing a $1 billion fund-raising campaign.
By 2025, the school could add about 1,000 freshmen to its Columbia campus, bringing the total of first-year students past 6,000. To house those students, the school now has 6,850 beds in 25 residence halls.
USC’s enrollment already has grown by nearly 30 percent, or 7,500 students, since 2004. The school has spent more than $600 million on academic, housing and athletics projects since Pastides started leading it in 2008.
USC’s campus has expanded to the west with a new business school and Innovista research campus, to the north with a new law school and to the south with the athletics village — and, now, the proposed housing towers.
The dorms being torn down date back to the 1960s and 1970s. Bates House is the school’s fourth-largest dorm.
USC has renovated and modernized the bulk of its student housing in recent years to better attract students.
In addition to the apartment on the west side of campus, USC is working with a private developer on an office building on Assembly and Blossom streets. Tenants will include IBM and Fluor Corp.
“It’s the next thing in higher ed,” Hickman said of private-public partnerships. “And we’re at the forefront on it.”
New USC village
The University of South Carolina is asking developers for plans to build housing towers on the south side of its campus:
Where: Pickens, Heyward and Sumter streets, near the soccer field and indoor track complex
What’s planned: Three- to six-story housing towers with up to 4,000 beds built by a private developer on 18 acres of land that USC owns
Timeframe: 10 years with 1,500 new beds available in July 2018
Residence halls to be torn down: Bates House, Bates West, Cliff Apartments and Carolina Gardens