Arena a good fit for USCB, the county

newsroom@islandpacket.comJuly 3, 2014 

In response to the June 29 editorial, "Council made the right call to nix sales tax increase," please consider several facts regarding the proposed University of South Carolina Beaufort arena for Beaufort County.

Beaufort County would benefit from the proposed 4,000-seat arena intended to serve as a venue for speakers, entertainment and exhibitions while providing space to conduct all local high school commencement exercises indoors. USCB's contribution represented nearly 50 percent of the project's cost. By providing the land and leveraging existing infrastructure for roads, parking, utilities, and climate control systems on the Hilton Head Gateway campus, USCB cut the projected cost to Beaufort County by $20 million.

USCB presented an externally vetted, detailed budget for construction and operating expenses. And, by scaling back the original plans for a convention/civic center in favor of a more modestly-sized arena, USCB exhibited a willingness to work with the Beaufort County Sales Tax Commission.

USCB has operated as an independently-accredited university for more than 10 years. USCB is no longer the two-year school that many Lowcountry residents remember -- the label "satellite campus" is inapplicable and factually inaccurate. USCB students pursue 25 baccalaureate degrees and concentrations and USCB's Ph.D.-qualified faculty pursue sustainability and economic tourism research and cutting-edge computational science initiatives. USCB's peer universities, USC Upstate and USC Aiken, successfully operate on-campus arenas that benefit their communities.

Candace Brasseur

Beaufort

Editor's Note: Brasseur is the public information officer for USCB.

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