LANCASTER — USC-Lancaster on Wednesday celebrated the official start of construction on Founders Hall, the college’s first new building in a decade.
Scheduled to open in a year, the $7.5 million building will span 40,000 square feet, including classrooms, multimedia lecture rooms, an art studio, faculty offices and an outdoor amphitheater.
Founders Hall has been in the works since 2005, when a strategic report highlighted the need for more classroom and faculty space, college officials said.
A fundraising campaign brought in $3 million for the project. The school will borrow the rest.
“Enrollment has doubled since the last building was constructed over a decade ago,” school spokeswoman Sherri Gregory said. “We have simply run out of space to put students and faculty.”
The new building is named after Founders Federal Credit Union, which donated $1 million to the project, Interim Dean Stan Emanuel said.
Work started in December. Officials held a ground-breaking ceremony Wednesday.
The school, located on about 140 acres of mostly undeveloped land off S.C. 9 about 25 miles southeast of Rock Hill, is one of the University of South Carolina’s regional campuses.
Some 1,800 students are enrolled. The school offers mostly two-year associate degrees, but four-year degrees are available in nursing, organizational leadership and liberal studies.
The tight quarters make scheduling classes tough, Emanuel said.
“This will double our class space,” he said.
Plus it positions the school to keep up with growth projections, which show more students will enroll in coming years.
The school also aims to add more four-year degree programs through USC’s planned Palmetto College, which will offer online course work.
The new amphitheater will host events that are open to the public. And “there will likely be public art shows on occasion in the art studio,” Gregory said..
Shawn Cetrone 803-329-4072