USCB architect finishing designs for new Hilton Head campus

FILE: An exterior rendering of a proposed building to house the USC Beaufort hospitality program planned for the Office Park Road area of Hilton Head Island.
FILE: An exterior rendering of a proposed building to house the USC Beaufort hospitality program planned for the Office Park Road area of Hilton Head Island. Wood + Partners Inc.

Revised draft proposals and final designs for the new University of South Carolina Beaufort hospitality management campus on Hilton Head Island are due late next month, according to college.

Charleston-based Liollio Architecture will present the designs to university officials for a series of reviews and approvals beginning Nov. 20 with USCB's Building and Grounds Committee, according to town urban designer Jennifer Ray.

The designs will include final floor plans and adjustments to the site plan, Ray wrote in an update to Town Council presented Tuesday.

The $24.5 million project will bring USCB back to the island at a new campus on Office Park Road, alongside more than $1 million in nearby traffic improvements and the opportunity for the college to fund another $4 million Osher Lifelong Learning Institute building in the future.

Once approved by the university committee, the proposals are expected to be reviewed by university trustees in December, the S.C. Committee on Higher Education in January, and the S.C. General Assembly's Joint Bond Review Committee and the State Fiscal Accounting Authority in mid- to late-January, according to Ray's update.

The plans will be submitted for local review at the end of this year or early next, Ray added. The designs will be due to the town's Planning Commission and Design Review Board and the Sea Pines Architectural Review Board.

Liollio has been working on the designs since it was hired this summer, USCB hospitality management program director Charlie Calvert wrote in his update to Town Council.

The firm is working with Mark Olson of Cleveland-based Bialosky & Partners Architects, who specializes in hospitality management teaching facilities, to develop the plans, Calvert said. They met with USCB faculty in August and September to determine criteria for the new buildings, he added.

The hospitality program also has added two new faculty members and an agreement to validate course credits for students transferring to the program from the University of South Carolina Sumter, Calvert wrote.

The vacant buildings on the future campus are currently being used for training by Hilton Head Island Fire Rescue and the Beaufort County Sheriff's Office, Ray said. They are scheduled to be demolished in early- to mid-2016 and the traffic-improvement projects will follow, she and town manager Steve Riley said.

Behind the scenes, the project continues to anger a small but vocal group of island residents who worry the campus is an inappropriate use of public funding. They still hope to halt the project, despite town officials' contention that it is a "done deal" and insistence that it should not be revisited.

Construction is expected to begin in early 2017, and the campus is expected to be open for fall classes in 2018.

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