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'We paid for this': Students excited about major campus upgrades at SC State

About $13 million in federal funding, along with a $2.5 million match from the state, is available to build out the center on the Russell Street side of campus.

ORANGEBURG, South Carolina — South Carolina State University has updated plans for the long-awaited completion of the James E. Clyburn Transportation Center to present to the Federal Highway Administration.

About $13 million in federal funding, along with a $2.5 million match from the state, is available to build out the center on the Russell Street side of campus.

The Clyburn Transportation Center’s mission is to assist federal, state and local agencies in meeting their goals to develop a highly skilled workforce to meet the future needs in transportation.

SC State hopes to have the 35,000-square-foot project out for bid by summer.

“I think it’s really good that like, especially the freshmen, the underclassmen are getting a chance to see what’s offered and to the best extent at that, like they deserve the most, you know, we paid for this," said student Jayla Myers.

There are also four other major projects that are underway at the university.

Queens Village is located near Sojourner Truth Hall on the SC State campus.

The university has plans to refurbish seven vacant residential cottages this spring.  

The Queens Village apartment complex, which was built in the mid-1970s, will undergo its first major renovation. Formerly used as married student housing, each of the seven buildings will have four two-bedroom, one-bath apartments. Each room will be single occupancy. The project is slated to bid later this month with work to begin in late April.

The Queens Village project will add 56 beds to SC State’s residential capacity as the university continues to experience growth in enrollment.

There will also be a student outdoor pavilion. The pavilion will be a 50-foot by 80-foot concrete pad with a 50-foot by 40-foot structure covering the end closest to the Student Center. It will be lighted and have Wi-Fi and bleacher seating for students to enjoy outdoor concerts or movies. Basketball goals also will be installed. The outdoor pavilion also will include amenities made possible by a grant from the Home Depot’s Retool Your School social media competition.

“More places for students to congregate and be like ok, this is pretty nice," said student Yael Jones.

Other renovations are underway at the Kirkland W. Green Student Center. This $4.4 million project will completely update the interior to include more technology and life safety infrastructure, while also providing a new roof, windows and doors for the exterior. The renovation is slated to bid in April with construction starting in May. Completion is expected in 2024.

SC State also has $20 million in state funding to continue the Student Center upgrade by adding 30,000 square feet, giving the university 62,000 square feet of modern space specifically for student life activities. SC State expects to put that phase of the renovation out to bid in 2024.

On March 2, SC State received initial approval for the renovation of Sojourner Truth Hall from the South Carolina Commission on Higher Education. The $10 million project was funded through a state allocation in the 2022-23 budget.

The renovation will allow the university to retrofit Truth Hall with fire-suppression sprinkler systems and complete other upgrades. 

The university has been able to house students only in the tower’s lower floors in recent years because the upper floors are inaccessible to firetrucks.

“I think it’s nice to finally see some change around the campus like it’s looked the same for so long so to see some upgrades is really nice to know that our money is going somewhere good," said student Jahnece Spencer.

Like the Queens Corner project, the Truth renovation is an essential infrastructure component necessary to accommodate the university’s enrollment growth. It will bring more than 200 beds back online for student housing. SC State administrators estimate work would begin this November or December timeframe, making the additional residential capacity available in August 2024.

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