The new USC health science campus plans to begin providing advanced research and patient treatment, with completion expected by 2026.
The campus, located in the Bull Street district, presents the opportunity to drastically better patient treatment and research in the Midlands as one of the only comprehensive stroke centers. The closer proximity to campus will also benefit students at the University of South Carolina with better ease of access.
“(Treatment) is done primarily at the Richland campus right now. There is not a place in the Midlands which does it on a 24/7, consistent basis,” Dr. Sen Souvik, chair of USC's neurology department and one of the people planning the campus design, said. “So it definitely helps that the medical school is right (there), the trainees, the researchers are right next to where such advanced level of care is provided.”
Current plans show two separate buildings, one serving as an education and treatment center and the other as a research building.
The education building will be approximately 110,000 square feet and will accommodate the teaching needs of the School of Medicine and other health science colleges. There will also be spaces to hold other educational programs within the School of Medicine for nurse anesthetists, genetic counseling and physician’s assistants.
“That building is going to be a top-notch education building with everything that you would expect that is needed for the education of medical professionals,” Dr. Julius Fridriksson, a public health professor and the vice president for research, said.
The research building is going to be about 165,000 square feet to allow for a focus on USC’s growing footprint in terms of medical science research. This building will also house the Brain Health Institute, a new subsection of study that focuses on understanding lifestyle and biological factors on phenomena like dementia.
The two buildings will be beside each other, most likely connected by an atrium containing a coffee shop, a restaurant and more for students and staff to enjoy.
Fridriksson describes the construction of the district as a way to “bring together students and faculty so that they’re not siloed anymore.” Typically, different colleges and departments have their own spaces, which limits collaboration, so the physical proximity between researchers and departments on the new campus is touted as a major benefit of the project.
“It's going to eliminate those barriers that currently exist between faculty and departments to put people from different backgrounds in the same environment to increase their collaboration and increase educational opportunities,” Fridriksson said.
The project is directed by Gilbane, a development company experienced in constructing health science campuses. Having worked on projects with Duke and UNC-Chapel Hill, Gilbane is looking forward to partnering with the University of South Carolina for its first medical campus.
“We really admire the foresight and the vision the university had and how it went about planning and undertaking this particular procurement, looking to the long term,” Brian Steed, vice president for Gilbane, said.
The project hopes to bring a new level of medical education to the area and create a more comprehensive experience for the School of Medicine.
“The community looks to a place like this for all the research that has been conducted. And that might be clinical trials, it might be epidemiological studies or it might be some kind of investigator-initiated studies. All that impacts the School of Medicine,” Souvik said.