USCL reveals master plan

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By The Staff

Nearly a dozen new buildings could adorn the campus of the University of South Carolina at Lancaster in the near future.

In September, The Boudreaux Group, an architectural firm in Columbia, began working on a master plan for USCL that includes more administrative and classroom buildings, new health services facilities and student housing.

The master plan sketches were developed based on USCL's newly created strategic plan, which USCL Dean Dr. John Catalano introduced before Lancaster County Chamber of Commerce members on Thursday at the Carole Ray Dowling Center.

The strategic plan, called The Blueprint for Academic Excellence, outlines USCL's vision and goals for the future.

The goals include:

- Expanding the number of degree programs available

- Increasing the number of full-time faculty

- Expanding inter-collegiate athletics for men and women students

- Providing housing for students

- Creating the true feel of a college campus

- Generating and receiving more funding

USCL has more than 100 acres on which the campus can expand. Existing buildings take up between 35 and 40 acres.

An overhead drawing of what the campus could look like in five years shows the following:

- Three new buildings that will be used for classroom and/or administrative use. They will be built near Medford Library and Hubbard Hall

- Three student housing buildings on Hubbard Drive facing Starr and Hubbard halls

- An amphitheater behind one of the new classroom buildings

- An elevated walkway leading from the classroom building area through a wooded area to the Gregory Health and Wellness Center

n Four heath services buildings on the north end of Hubbard Drive

Officials also want more signs and fences around the perimeter that let you know you've entered the campus. Ways to calm traffic will be implemented, too, Catalano said.

"Five years from now, we hope to have that college feel," he said. "I want this place to feel like a major university."

Catalano said money will continue to be the biggest factor in seeing these plans come to fruition.

He said the state recently decided to cut USCL's funding by about $850,000, although local representatives were able to get some of it back.

The campus' upcoming 50-year anniversary campaign is one of several initiatives officials hope will bring in money.

"We have a master plan we think is implementable if we can get the funding," Catalano said. "We're going to need help from the county (Lancaster County Council) and everybody in the community."

This is USCL's first strategic plan since 1987 and its first facilities master plan in 30 years.

Officials have yet to say how much construction will cost, as everything is still in the ideas stage.

"This isn't set in stone, it's just the general concept," USCL planning director Paul Johnson said.

Parking issues

An important part of the master plan is the added parking space that visitors and members of the USCL community may notice later this year.

A new parking lot is being built across the street from Starr Hall and the Bradley Building that is expected to be finished this year.

Officials also want to extend the parking lot at the Bradley Building so that it almost hugs Gillsbrook Drive and S.C. 9 Bypass.

Contact Jesef Williams

at 283-1152 or