ORANGEBURG, S.C. — On Friday, surrounded by colleagues, Claflin University's president, Dwan Warmack cut the ribbon, officially opening 'The Villas at Claflin.' According to Warmack, the new housing option, which is located less than half a mile from the school, is being offered at below market rate for staff and faculty.
Warmack explains that it can be a struggle sometimes when trying to land top quality job candidates when there aren't affordable housing options close to the campus.
"Often times folks are commuting in from Columbia or Sommerville area. For us, we wanted to have quality housing in Orangeburg as we recruit outstanding faculty and staff from all over the country...we wanted for them to stay in Orangeburg and keep our tax dollars in Orangeburg County. "
The apartments are newly renovated and come with new appliances. Warmack says investing the community is a continued goal for the school.
"This allows us to be the anchor in the community. Our gates are over there but this allows us to spend our footprint here in Orangeburg...It's important that we serve as an engine to revitalize Orangeburg and this is just a step."
Warmack is also hopeful that the new construction will bring economic benefits to the surrounding area. Winston Kennedy lives next to the building and says he was disapointed with how the space was used before. He adds that he can already tell there will be a positive impact on his home.
"At one point my property value fell $1200. Now I have a better return on my investment and I get good neighbors."