The Daily Gamecock

SC Treasurer Curtis Loftis slams $27 million Women's Quad renovations

USC: Women's Quad needs work

USC received preliminary state approval to forge ahead on about $30 million in residence hall improvements, including a $27 million overhaul of the Women's Quad during a Wednesday meeting of the State Budget and Control Board.

But it didn't receive the go-ahead without criticism from at least one member.

State Treasurer Curtis Loftis blasted the university for the $27 million project during Tuesday's meeting, and his beliefs were expressed again Wednesday night during a speech he gave to USC's College Republicans.

Loftis was the only member of the five-person board to vote against the projects.

"It's my argument that you should take $7 million and fix the dorms up, take the other $20 million and do something for the students," Loftis said. "$20 million is a lot of scholarships. I just think the cost of college is too expensive."

Loftis said some of the dorms "look like they could have a Hilton flag on the outside of them" during Tuesday's meeting. He said he wasn't concerned about students coming from "New Jersey and looking for a nice place to live."

"The University of South Carolina is for the people of Allendale and Bamberg who can't get out of where they live because they cannot go to college," Loftis said.

But USC officials say the Women's Quad needs the $27 million in repairs.

Colleen Mullis, USC Housing's assistant director for marketing and communications, said the decision was made to keep up with "living and learning needs for students."

"The buildings just are outdated," Mullis said. "It's mostly the mechanics and the functions of it that needed to be done."

The improvements include plans to overhaul McClintock, Sims and Wade Hampton with new furnishings, interior repairs and building system upgrades, said Tom Quasney, USC's associate vice president for facilities. The residence halls will also receive significant exterior work, Quasney said.

The rooms will be converted to suite-style living arrangements instead of the current setup, where students share hall bathrooms. An elevator will also be installed in the dormitories.

The dormitories were built more than 50 years ago and are in a "pretty sad shape," Quasney said.

"There's nothing gold-plated going in these things," Quasney said. "It's not going to be the Hilton by any level, but it will be nice."

The improvements are funded through housing maintenance fees paid by students, Quasney said.

Students currently living in the Women's Quad cheered the move as needed.

"It's definitely worthwhile. The showers aren't clean. It's not convenient to use the bathroom. Some windows won't open, so if you're hot it kind of sucks for you. Some people have bed bugs; I don't know if that's a mattress thing or a room thing," said Tierra Johnson, a first-year visual communications student.

Johnson said she was going off campus next year. Her comments were echoed by Sam Lunsford, a second-year education student.

"I lived in Sims last year, and it is in desperate need of a makeover," Lunsford said. "My dorm room was so humid that my sheets and blankets were literally wet, and we had to get a dehumidifier from maintenance."


Trending Now

Send a Tip Get Our Email Editions