As social change in the 1950s and 60s transformed Clemson College into a university for all students across South Carolina and the world, a surge of campus construction provided modern classrooms, housing and amenities of that era and set the stage for Clemson University to become the respected research institution it is today.
Brackett, Lee I, Newman and Earle halls, Poole Agricultural Center, the President’s House, Harcombe Dining Hall and Thornhill Village are a sampling from a long list of projects that added more than 844,000 square feet of facilities to the campus during the 1950s – more square footage than all of the current campus buildings constructed prior to that time, starting with Fort Hill.
Looking back 50 years, Manning, Lever and Daniel halls, Strode Tower, Schilletter Dining Hall, Redfern Health Center, Littlejohn Coliseum and Rhodes Engineering Research Center were among 26 projects completed between 1965 and 1970. Now Clemson looks ahead to a new wave of construction to prepare for the next 50 years.
A nearly complete addition to Freeman Hall, home of the Industrial Engineering Department, will open this fall, along with WestZone Phase 3 and suite improvements in Memorial Stadium and an addition to the Doug Kingsmore Baseball Stadium.
Next year will see completion of the Watt Family Innovation Center and Core Campus development. The $30 million Watt Family Innovation Center, a four-story 70,000-square-foot innovation incubator made possible in part by a gift from the Watt family of Kennesaw, Ga., will connect students, industry partners and state-of-the-art information technology to take ideas from concept to marketplace. The $96 million Core Campus project, behind the Edgar A. Brown University Union, includes student housing, dining facilities and the new home of the Calhoun Honors College.
Work starts this summer on a Littlejohn Coliseum renovation and addition to open for the 2016-17 basketball season, and a $212 million residential village and central hub at Douthit Hills to house upperclassmen as well as freshmen in the Bridge to Clemson program beginning in the fall of 2018.
Campus visitors often ask what’s inside the Sheep Barn. This historic turn-of-the-century agricultural relic outlived its original use long ago. In December 2016 it will reopen as the Barnes Center, another new amenity made possible by a generous gift of the Barnes family in honor of alumni Frank S. Barnes Jr.
A west campus energy plant to add capacity and mitigate outage risk and an Advanced Technological Education Center that includes a workforce development center, both in planning and design, also will open during 2016.
Perhaps the most dramatic projected project is a new home for Clemson’s College of Business. A majestic glass entrance to this new home of Clemson’s second largest college will look out on Bowman Field from across Highway 93, in front of the alumni and visitor center. Bobby McCormick, interim dean of the College of Business and Behavioral Science, describes the planned academic building as “a home for these students, not just a place to go to class.” It will be “part of a corporate culture” where coming to class will be akin to going to the office, McCormick says. Architects’ renderings show a large ground-floor atrium with a coffee shop and illuminated stock market ticker data running along the walls.
These are some of the coming attractions that will transform the Clemson campus in the next few years. Other plans include electrical infrastructure upgrades, a football operations facility, an outdoor wellness and fitness center, a child care center and renovations of Vickery Hall and Lightsey Bridge I. Plans further down the road include Mauldin and Daniel hall renovations, a tennis center, a wastewater treatment plant upgrade and demolition of 1950s-era Johnstone and Harcombe hall.
Construction fences will come and go across the campus like curtains on a stage, each lifting to reveal another piece of Clemson’s next act. Please pardon our progress. The reward will far outweigh the temporary inconvenience. Clemson is building for the future, to serve 21st century students and offer greater opportunities for all South Carolinians.