Columbia, SC (WLTX)- The University of South Carolina Board of Trustees approved $53 million dollars in construction projects on February 28th.

USC's Athletics Director Ray Tanner is hoping the new projects will help the university compete at the highest level.

"We play in a conference that is extremely competitive. If you are one of the top teams in the SEC that means you are one of the top teams in the nation," said Tanner.

Tanner knows a thing or two about the importance of top notch facilities when it comes to winning championships.

"I think the fact that I was a former coach, I understand resources and facilities in a big way and how much it helps our coaches recruit," Tanner said. "We are not trying to provide the most elegant and most expensive facilities in the country but we are hoping to have a chance to compete for championships."

Among the projects approved by the board: Phase II of the Indoor Football Practice Facility, which is located on the back end of the new tailgating area, and 2 news practice fields in the same area. The entrance to the stadium will also recieve more greenery and a brick entrance way. To help cover some of the cost, football tickets will increase to $45 dollars come fall.

"We have not increased prices since 2008. Although that is never a popular move, it is necessary to invest back to our facilities and projects to give our student athletes the chance to be successful," said Tanner.

Facility projects were also approved for a building next to the Soccer Stadium, which will have locker rooms, weight room and a video room.

The Athletics Village is also in the midst of getting upgrades, the Softball Stadium is nearing completion and the track and field and tennis complex will under construction in the coming years.

Tanner says there isn't a date for when the projects will be completed.

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