South Carolina’s new football coach, whoever he is, will have a fancy, new office in the not-too-distant future.
It will be part of a $50 million football operations facility that was given Phase 1 approval Friday by the building and grounds committee of the school’s Board of Trustees. The 100,000-square foot building, which will be built adjacent to the team’s new indoor and outdoor practice fields behind Gamecock Park, also would include meeting space for the players and coaches, a football-only weight room and a locker room facility for the football team.
“I think today’s action was very important as we go through this (coach search) process because we are moving forward with a football operations center and the new football coach will have input in this facility,” athletics director Ray Tanner said. “It is exciting that we are moving forward in this direction. If we weren’t, that would be a hindrance in this process.”
The football team’s coaching staff currently uses office and meeting space on both ends of Williams-Brice Stadium. The football team shares a weight room at Williams-Brice Stadium with other sports.
“We have outgrown the space,” Tanner told the board. “While it’s adequate, it’s not ideally functional.”
The school also needs a newer football building for recruiting purposes, Tanner said. The building will be financed with loans.
“I am comfortable going forward in the next year we will have additional resources to service this debt on an annual basis,” Tanner said.
After the football operations building is complete, the school could embark on renovations to the east side of Williams-Brice Stadium that would add 18 suites.
The east side renovations are expected to cost around $30 million, and that money will not fit under the athletic department’s debt cap immediately after the football operations building is complete. The athletic department will seek donations specifically for the project and will attempt to pre-sell suites in an effort to fund the project.
The board also approved:
▪ Adding two permanent 40-foot tall filming towers to the new outdoor practice fields at a price of $350,000.
▪ Renovating the site of the old Bojangles for VIP parking and facilities at a price of $850,000. The parking spaces could fetch as much as $5,000 each, Tanner said.