The Daily Gamecock

Athletics village moves forward

USC builds $7 million garage in second step

University Athletics will get 365 new parking spaces next week with the opening of a $7 million garage.

The addition represents the second major step in a $60 million “Facilities Master Plan” for a completely new Athletic Village near The Roost. The plan, modeled after the historic Horseshoe layout, will also include a new softball stadium, indoor tennis courts, a basketball practice facility, a general athletics center and a Coaches’ Support Building.

Athletics Director Eric Hyman, who spearheaded the project four years ago, said refurbishments for The Roost area, once home to the original baseball stadium, were put slightly behind schedule due to construction errors. The full plan was projected to take 10 years but may take longer.

“A few years ago, we all sat down to determine where we were and where we wanted to go,” Hyman said. “The coaches wanted to get closer to campus, so we began to develop a plan to create a better sense of unity with athletics.”

Athletics moved forward with the first phase of the project in the spring of 2010 with the opening of the $12.6 million Dodie Anderson Academic Enrichment Center (“the Dodie”) dedicated to benefactor and USC alumna Dolores F. Anderson. The 40,000 square-foot athlete hub includes three computer labs, 20 tutoring rooms, a full-service cafeteria, a student-athlete lounge and athletic support staff offices.

“The Dodie is totally different from what we had before,” Hyman said. “We’ve never had an entire academic center, but this modernizes what we do for athletes in a systematic way and is meeting the needs of wide cross-sections of student-athletes. Student-athletes are performing the best they ever have academically.”

The next step will be the opening of the $3.7 million Tennis Complex in November, according to executive associate athletics director Kevin O’Connell. The $11.7 million Coaches’ Support Building is then expected to open in the spring of 2012, he said. He said the $8 million softball stadium should be completed in 2013. Pending approval from the board of trustees, construction on that project will start in May.

All expenses for the Facilities Master Plan are paid for by USC Athletics revenue and private donations from benefactors such as Anderson. Hyman added that the vision for the Athletic Village has already been a major draw in athletic recruitment.

“The village is going to be ... something very unique to the University of South Carolina in that it will have competitive venues as well as all the things that go into supporting the team,” Hyman said. “It will give us a special edge when these things come to fruition.”



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