USC's Board of Trustees approved a $460 million construction project on Friday that will bring eight new residence halls to south campus by 2024.
The Campus Village project, originally proposed in 2015, will replace the existing Bates Towers, Cliff Apartments and Carolina Gardens housing facilities and construct new buildings on the sites of the Bates and Benson building parking lots.
As the project was developed through a public-private partnership with Memphis-based collegiate property developer EdR, USC will not have to pay to build or operate any part of the Campus Village development. In addition, USC will not become liable for any debt related to the project.
In all, the three-phase project will bring 3,750 beds to south campus over the next seven years. With Whaley Street running directly through the land earmarked for the project, the university intends to make Campus Village an "aesthetically pleasing, pedestrian-friendly area that blends well with nearby established residential communities," according to the approved plans.
Breaking from the high-rises that populated south campus in the past, the plans call for none of the six buildings on the sites of Cliff Apartments and Bates Towers to exceed six stories. The 230-bed Benson site building will stand four stories while the Carolina Gardens building, at 216 beds, will stand two or three stories.
The complex will also feature on-site dining, a recreation center and an academic support space in addition to an auxiliary campus safety office.
Parking is not forgotten as a 945-space resident-only garage is set to open alongside a four-building, 1,882-bed facility on the site of Cliff Apartments in 2020. The original Campus Village design involved three garages, narrowed to one in the plans approved Friday. The approved plans mention that USC is "committed to creating incentives for students to refrain from using cars and reducing vehicular traffic."
Despite the University pushing the many upgrades, some took to Twitter to mourn the imminent destruction of two of Carolina's most infamous dorms, Bates and Bates West.
"There will need to be a funeral for Bates," one user wrote.
"Bates West raised me like the darkness raised Bane," wrote another.
Traffic was a major concern for USC as the plans were developed, and input came from residents of the neighboring Wales Garden and Wheeler Hill neighborhoods, both of which lie along the east side of Pickens Street. According to the university, improved "shuttle service and excellent bike and pedestrian access to the main areas of campus will discourage daily automobile use," thus alleviating Pickens Street traffic.
USC associate director of public relations Jeff Stensland told The Daily Gamecock in July that construction of Campus Village will begin in the summer or fall of 2018.
This story has been edited to include the partnership of USC and EdR in developing Campus Village.
News editor Mary Ramsey contributed to this story.