From new dorms to dining improvements to academic building renovations, campus infrastructure has changed in a variety of ways in recent years.
Campus Village, a new development that will include the addition of four residential buildings, is one of the most notable changes.
"There's four buildings, 1,808 beds. Three of the buildings are suite style," Derek Gruner, a university architect and the associate vice president of facilities planning, design and construction, said. "One building is traditional, or what I hear people say 'pod style,' in which you have a bedroom with two students, but the bathrooms are in the core of the building, and they're shared."
Campus Village will have a large dining facility as well as a Starbucks and a sandwich shop, and it will mainly accommodate first-year students while offering housing to some continuing students.
"We know that freshmen are more successful when they are in suite style and pod style living, and so we purposely created more opportunities for our first-year population down there," April Barnes, the executive director of university housing, said.
Campus Village has a project budget of $210 million and is set to be finished by the fall of 2023 with no expected delays.
"It's been a remarkable success. Despite the challenges that the construction industry has faced, that project has really just gone along very smoothly," Gruner said.
Renovations at Russell House, which started in May of 2022, had a budget of $3.8 million and involved installing a new dining hall, Gamecock Park, on the second floor of the building.
“Providing a dining hall that is conveniently located in Russell House was a part of the initial proposal that Carolina Food Co. provided the University when we came to campus in 2017. The campus was in need of a larger, more centrally located dining hall to support the all access meal plan structure that is offered to students,” Faren Alston, the marketing director of Carolina Food Co., said in an email to The Daily Gamecock.
Gamecock Park has also "provided relief to the first floor of Russell House," according to Alston.
"We are seeing more students dining upstairs in Gamecock Park and Fresh Greene’s which is providing increased speed of service to operations on the first floor," Alston said.
The new addition to Russell House has received positive feedback from students, according to Alston.
“We constantly solicit feedback from students via our Voice of the Consumer program, surveying, and focus groups. Feedback has been positive in regards to the addition of Gamecock Park. Students really enjoy the flexibility of the all access meal plan and Gamecock Park provides an additional outlet for all access,” Alston said.
That being said, Alston said Russell House is always looking to grow.
"We are always looking for new and innovative ways to bring fresh concepts to campus like the ghost kitchens we are offering out of Food Lab in Russell House. So students will continue to see changes in our offerings to ensure we are meeting the tastes and preferences of our students," Alston said.
LeConte College, home to the Department of Mathematics, was also renovated starting in May of 2021. The renovations for the building, which was originally built in 1952, involved improving the accessibility of its restrooms by making them bigger and in accordance with modern codes.
The building also had issues involving “water intrusion” due to membrane failure on the roof that needed to be addressed. The roof, which is made of historic slate, also needed to be replaced after the renovations in order to comply with the South Carolina Department of Archives and History.
Renovations on LeConte College were the logical next step Gruner said after methodical updates over the years to all the other buildings in Gibbes Green, the area where the college is located.
“LeConte was just the outlier. It was just the next priority,” Gruner said.
Campus infrastructure will continue to change going forward, with new projects such as the renovation of Longstreet Theatre happening this year.