T. Ed Garrison Arena Education and Conference Center

Non-recurring request:  $3.2 million

The T. Ed Garrison Arena, near the Clemson campus, hosts an array of high-profile livestock and equine events that draw approximately 100,000 visitors annually from throughout the Southeast and increase the national reputation of South Carolina’s cattle, equine and related agricultural industries. These events include: J.D. Massey Classic Horse Show; S.C. High School Finals Rodeo; Pro Rodeo; five SCQHA Horse Shows and SCQHA approved shows; S.C. 4H State Championship Horse Show; Western Carolinas Arabian Horse Show; S.C Junior Beef Roundup; and several livestock and cattle sales.

The state funded $1 million in FY17 and those funds were used to convert a sand arena to new all-weather arena; build 25 new full-service RV sites; convert cattle barn sales complex into a fully air-conditioned space with insulation; replace lighting in offices, bathrooms, show office and concessions with LED lighting; replace split rail fencing with vinyl fencing; and add 2,400 tons of sand to both the indoor and covered arenas to enhance the livestock footing. These improvements have created new revenue streams by allowing the arena to host larger and more varied events and cut utility costs through LED lighting.

Last year, Clemson PSA requested $10 million in state funds and was allocated $6.8 million. An additional $3.2 million would complete the request and allow Clemson to build the Conference Center, add a covered arena and make improvements to the existing facility. This Center, currently in the design phase, will add to the marketability of the arena, create additional revenue streams, and allow the facility to host multiple, varied, concurrent events. More specifically, the Center and other facility improvements will allow Garrison to provide an excellent meeting and instructional facility and exhibition space that is not currently available in the upstate; secure regional and national events that will have an economic impact in the region; serve the educational needs of the university as a venue for student-centered events and indoor experiential lab space; and collaborate with Anderson, Oconee, and Pickens counties in hosting more economically impactful events and advancing the region’s tourism economy.

45,000 ft2 covered open-air and schooling arena $2 million
Arena improvements $1.2 million
Total $3.2 million