The Daily Gamecock

Plans for 70,000-square-foot Alumni Center in progress

Current executive director of Alumni Association leaves to head new project

Marsha Cole, the current executive director of the Carolina Alumni Association, will be stepping down from her position in order to design, finance and construct a new Alumni Center, the University announced Friday.

The idea for the center was conceived over a decade ago, according to Cole, though only now has a “perfect storm,” of sorts, of administrative support and financial contributions conspired to bring it to fruition. The center represents a new effort to maintain the university’s competitiveness nationally and to welcome alumni back to campus.

“Virtually every major university in the country has such a building,” Cole said.

She explained that USC’S colleagues in the SEC also have similar facilities that have either already been completed or are currently being planned.

Cole says that it’s important that the alumni feel like they are a part of USC’s campus due to how much depends on them. The university looks to alumni for financial gifts and other contributions including “serving on committees and giving their advice and helping to recruit students,” said Cole.

The 70,000-square-foot center, which will be owned and operated by the Alumni Association, will be constructed in the vicinity of Innovista — Cole declined to provide a more specific location — and will house a broad suite of services to alumni.

In addition to its role as a home base for alumni visiting campus and a venue for reunions and other events, the Alumni Center will contain a Lifelong Learning Center where alumni can interact with faculty and attend seminars and symposia. There will also be a satellite career center for alumni looking to network or update their résumés.

Initial plans for the structure have been drawn by local architecture firm The Boudreaux Group, which has worked extensively with USC in the past on projects including the West (Green) Quad and the Strom Thurmond Wellness and Fitness Center.

The Alumni Association has not yet chosen a final architect to take on the project and hopes to have hired one by the end of the year. Other details on the time line for the center’s construction and its ultimate completion date remain unavailable.

Based on these initial plans, however, Cole estimates that the Alumni Center will cost approximately $30 million, a sum that will be covered by “a significant fundraising campaign,” according to a university press release.

Roughly half of the estimated sum has been collected so far from major gifts. Donations from such contributors are still being sought after, and the university plans to ask alumni for additional gifts soon.

Though it may be some time before ground is broken, Cole will soon be working full-time on the project, and Amy Stone, former president of the Carolina Alumni Association, will serve as intern director starting July 1, while a national search for a new executive director is conducted.


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