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Lead Developer Chosen to Build USC-Columbia's New Health Sciences Campus

Thu December 15, 2022 - Southeast Edition
University of South Carolina

USC’s planned health sciences campus should help drive development in and around Columbia’s BullStreet District. The 181-acre district is the largest city-center development east of the Mississippi River.  (Map courtesy of University of South Carolina)
USC’s planned health sciences campus should help drive development in and around Columbia’s BullStreet District. The 181-acre district is the largest city-center development east of the Mississippi River. (Map courtesy of University of South Carolina)

Rhode Island-based Gilbane Inc., one of the top developing/building companies in the United States, has been selected by the University of South Carolina (USC) to lead the planning, design, development and construction of the school's $300 million health sciences campus in the BullStreet District in downtown Columbia.

The decision to engage with Gilbane was presented to USC's board of trustees at its Dec. 13 meeting, the university said in a news story on its website.

"Gilbane has assembled a world-class design and construction team that will provide innovation and expertise to develop a health sciences campus to serve USC and the state of South Carolina for many generations into the future," said Derek Gruner, a university architect.

Gilbane, one of the largest privately held family-owned construction and real estate development firms in the industry, with a local office on Devine Street in Columbia, will serve as the primary developer of the project.

The Providence, R.I., company has vast experience in health care, health sciences and higher education-affiliated projects, USC noted, including hospitals, university medical schools and more.

Gilbane Building Co., has successfully collaborated with USC for more than 17 years, with seven projects delivered on campus during that time, and is consistently ranked among the top education facilities builders in the country.

"Gilbane understands the meaningful impact this project will have within the local community and throughout the state," explained John Keegan, vice president of Gilbane Development Co. "Embracing a spirit of partnership and collaboration, we look forward to helping realize the vision for the health sciences campus within the BullStreet District, achieving exceptional outcomes for USC and the greater Columbia community."

Other key contractors on the project include:

  • Lead design architect The SLAM Collaborative, from Atlanta and Glastonbury, Conn.
  • The global construction management firm Cumming, which has an office in Columbia.
  • Charlotte-based Honeywell, in charge of managing the project's operations.
  • Brownstone Construction Group, a Columbia construction manager and minority business.
  • Restoration 52, a development consultant, and minority- and women-owned business in Greenville, S.C.

The university added it is committed to including minority and women-owned businesses in its contracts; its goal for subcontracting participation is 30 percent for design and construction entities.

Along with Gilbane's breadth of experience in health science and medical school developments, the SLAM Collaborative brings a project history that includes the UNC School of Medicine's Medical Education Building, Duke University's School of Medicine Medical Education Building, and Emory's Health Science District Redevelopment/Rollins School of Public Health in Atlanta.

New Complex to Include Two Buildings

USC's health sciences campus is expected to have a transformational impact on research and health care delivery in South Carolina due to its modern space for clinical education and ability to bring together eminent researchers to help meet the state's health challenges.

The first stage of the new campus will include a medical education building to house the School of Medicine Columbia and a multidisciplinary research building. Together, the two structures will encompass an estimated 292,000 sq. ft. of gross space.

Current plans call for construction to begin in 2025 and finish in 2027, USC noted.

Long-term plans for the campus include a brain center that will build on the university's McCausland Center for Brain Imaging and offer South Carolinians more options for the treatment of Alzheimer's, dementia and other brain-related conditions.

"By expanding our capacity to educate physicians and other health-care professionals, we will increase our impact on the health and well-being of the Palmetto State's citizens," noted Julius Fridriksson, USC's vice president for research. "The new health sciences campus will also provide a cutting-edge setting where our faculty can unleash their drive for innovation in the health sector, discovering new lifesaving and health-promoting technologies through increased research and development."

Campus Project Should Add to District's Vibrancy

USC's planned health sciences campus should also help drive development in and around Columbia's BullStreet District. The 181-acre district is the largest city-center development east of the Mississippi River. It is already home to Segra Park and the Columbia Fireflies minor league baseball team, a pair of residential developments in TownPark and The Babcock, the outdoors retailer REI, and Ogletree Deakins and Robinson Gray, a downtown law firm.

"We are excited to welcome the USC health sciences campus in the BullStreet District," said Robert Hughes, president of Hughes Development Corp., the area's main developer. "All of the students, faculty, and staff will be a great addition to the vibrancy of the district. The training and research conducted here will extend throughout the community and state to produce a better quality of life for our people through better health care. We are honored to be a part of it."

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