LeConte College, first built in 1952 and home of the Mathematics and Statistics Department, is scheduled to reopen in the fall of 2022 after undergoing a maintenance renovation.
LeConte College is located in near the Horseshoe on Gibbes Green. Other buildings in this area, such as Pedigree College, Sloan College and others, have undergone renovations in recent years.
“We have something at the university called the five-year plan that projects what we call capital projects: significant renovations, new buildings, etc.," university architect Derek Gruner said. "And LeConte had become a priority.”
The project was approved by the Board of Trustees in a unanimous vote in 2019 with an overall project budget of $20 million. The overall project budget includes an expected $14.5 million in construction costs for the renovations.
Additional costs such as contingency funding, professional fees, moving expenses for the faculty and other lesser project costs make up the rest of the $20 million project budget.
USC facilities are optimistic there will be funds remaining at the end of the project that can be applied to other maintenance needs on campus, according to Gruner.
While the USC facilities department had completed maintenance-focused work and an interim mechanical HVAC renovation, LeConte College was an outlier among other buildings in Gibbes Green having never received a large-scale renovation.
“Its needs were pretty broad." Gruner said. "It was what we call a comprehensive renovation.”
The current renovations include installing a central HVAC system with fresh air intake, updating and making restrooms and elevators ADA accessible, installing a new sprinkler system for life safety, IT equipment and cabling, classroom AV equipment, furniture, replacing all building plumbing, replacing the roof and replacing the entire electrical system.
With LeConte College being a historic structure, the USC facilities department had to coordinate with the South Carolina Department of Archives and History on how to replace the roof.
“When we knew we had to replace the roof, there was never any thought about going back with anything other than the historic slate roof that was on the building to begin with,” Gruner said.
Previously scheduled to begin work in June of 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic delayed the renovations until this summer.
“(LeConte) is now on schedule to be complete for fall 2022,” Gruner said. “When the math students come back in the fall, next year, they’ll be coming into a renovated building with new technology, new lighting, new bathrooms, new finishes... It's going to be pretty dramatic.”
Kaylee Weatherspoon, a third-year mathematics and french student, is excited about how the space will provide a better environment for students and aid in collaboration.
“Collaboration is so important and I think having a renovated space to collaborate in is really going to boost, especially undergraduate research in that department,” Weatherspoon said.
With this maintenance renovation, students will find that LeConte College has brighter hallways and benches for students to sit on, according to Gruner.
Additionally, math and statistics professors are also grateful for the renovations and to move back into LeConte College after a temporary move to the Carolina Coliseum.
"This has been an ongoing discussion for a number of years," Adela Vraciu, a professor of mathematics, said. "I'm very grateful that we have this being done."