Clemson’s College of Business Construction Doubles as Classroom

By Aziza Jackson

CLEMSON, S.C. — Clemson University is currently in the midst of the largest campus development initiative in its history, implementing a facilities plan designed to help place it in the public eye among the best institutions of learning in America.

Students have not simply been spectators in the process but have rather been active participants in every stage. Faculty well-versed in construction science and management, civil engineering and the School of Architecture have capitalized on the construction boom by working campus projects into their curriculums, turning job sites into classrooms.

By teaming up with Clemson’s Facilities department and the general contractors of major projects like the new College of Business facility, professors have been able to offer students real-world, hands-on experiences with the construction process that could never be replicated in a traditional classroom.

“We have a perfect learning lab here,” said Paul Borick, senior project manager for Clemson Facilities, who organizes site tours and facilitates building-related learning opportunities for students and professors. “This is a great opportunity for students to see footings, concrete foundation walls, structural steel framing and the most modern equipment and construction methodologies in action — some students sat in on our early design meetings.

Construction of the nearly 180,000-square-foot College of Business facility is a prime example of these learning opportunities. Nestled into the hillside across from Bowman Field, the new home for business education at Clemson is quickly rising from the ground. When finished, it will nearly double the space available in historic Sirrine Hall, the college’s current home.

The project will feature two towers, North and South, connected on the ground and first floors by an expansive outdoor stairway and plaza, and by an interior hallway on the building’s ground floor. The majority of the North Tower will comprise classrooms and labs, while the four-story South Tower will primarily house faculty and staff offices and workspaces.

The new home for the College of Business is set to open in 2020 and will provide the Clemson community with a think tank environment, bringing students, faculty and industry together in a collaborative, inspiring space that is forward-thinking in its design and daily application. Business students will have the kind of attractive environment that compels them to work, engage, study, ask hard questions, challenge themselves and work together.

As the construction manager of record, DPR is charged with balancing the project’s scope, schedule and budget, and coordinating the subcontractor trades. DPR is teamed up with Greenville contractor Sherman Construction on the project. DPR and Sherman also built Clemson’s new 142,500-square-foot Football Operations Center, which opened last year.

Wendy York, dean of the College of Business, says the new building is a sign of the commitment university leadership has made to the future of business education at Clemson.

“This world-class learning facility will become a magnet for drawing quality students in pursuit of a business degree that will open doors for them,” said York. “And its location, in the heart of campus, will tell all who pass by that Clemson means business.”