The Daily Gamecock

Grander, greener Patterson set to reopen

Renovations for women’s residence hall completed

After 15 months and $31.8 million, Patterson Hall is set to open on time and under budget.

The women’s residence hall, completed in 1967 and located across from the Bull Street Garage, was shut down in May 2010 for extensive renovations, most notably a shift from two-person dorm rooms and communal bathrooms to modern-style suites. The yearlong shutdown brought a housing shortage, during which many upperclassmen didn’t get rooms on campus and some resident mentors were forced to share rooms with freshmen. USC officials also faced some criticism from state legislators and Treasurer Curtis Loftis for its expensive building projects.

But now, times are good again. Patterson’s reopening, with 544 beds among 280 rooms due to a shift from communal to suite bathrooms, has allowed University Housing to provide a room to all who requested beds.

And the new rooms in Patterson are a whole lot nicer.

For those lawmakers who complained of USC’s “ivory tower,” know that Patterson 2.0 has four nine-story towers. The towers help brace the building against earthquakes and are anchored in 80 75-foot-deep holes filled with concrete, so they’re not going anywhere. Two towers contain elevators, and the others contain stairs.

The building has also been embedded with various clean and green technologies. The architects are seeking a silver certification from Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, a green building rating system developed by the U.S. Green Building Council.

That’s the same level of certification as West (Green) Quad of USC’s campus.

“That’s just what we’re striving for; it could very well be more than that,” said Colleen Mullis, assistant director for marketing and communications for Housing.

Mullis pointed out that the Honors Residence Hall also aimed at silver certification but achieved gold. Patterson won’t be given a certification until September.

A fact sheet distributed by Housing states that Patterson has water-conserving dual-flush toilets, low-flow faucets and shower heads, a laundry room with 32 high-efficiency washers and dryers, lots of natural day lighting, an indoor bicycle storage and shower station, an outside covered bicycle storage, recycled materials in interior finishes, driveways that reduce storm water runoff and energy recovery units that reduce humidity and energy use while improving indoor air quality.

The transformation also included the addition of a green terrace on the first floor and a green space between Patterson and Sims Residence Hall. James Sherry, director of construction and renovation for Housing, said the sustainability was a driving force behind the decision to renovate rather than raze the dorm.

“Because the university is so concerned about being stewards of the environment, they decided to go ahead and renovate because we were able to retain or recycle 95 percent of the building,” Sherry said.

Patterson 2.0’s technologies are projected to consume 16 percent less energy than the unrenovated Patterson, and its water systems were produced to have 40 percent greater efficiency than a conventional building. Overall, the building is 30 percent more efficient than a typical building of its same footprint, Sherry said.

The 186,990-square-foot building also includes a cyber lounge with five computer stations and Wi-Fi and a smart classroom that can be used as two classrooms. There are community kitchens for students on floors 2 through 9, and dormitory doors are unlocked by students’ CarolinaCards and their four-digit PINs.

The Patterson renovation is part of university-wide and nationwide movement from a traditional dorm layout, like Bates House and South Tower, to suite-style dorms. Most recently, the traditional-style “honeycomb” dorms were razed to make way for the $47 million suite-style Honors Residence Hall, completed in 2009. Out of Housing’s 26 student resident halls, only five remain traditional, three of which were built in the 1950s and two in the ’60s.

“To remain viable being on campus, you want to meet the expectations of your students and their parents, and that means providing comfortable on-campus apartments in the suite style that residents are comfortable with,” Mullis said. “You are competing with off-campus and a host of other options that they may have available to them.”


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