The implementation of a 10-year, $185 million master plan literally transformed both the physical footprint and reputation of the University of South Carolina Upstate campus.
The master plan was approved by the USC Board of Trustees in 1997 and as it progressed, USC Upstate realized capital developments in classroom space, academic support facilities, housing, athletics facilities, beautification initiatives, the George Dean Johnson, Jr., College of Business and Economics in downtown Spartanburg, and an entire new highway infrastructure system.
Projects constructed as part of the master plan include:
- The Louis P. Howell Athletic Complex, one of the Southeast’s top sports venues, includes the County University Soccer Stadium, Youth Soccer Fields, Cleveland S. Harley Baseball Park, Cyrill Softball Stadium and a tennis complex. With the development of the Complex, all athletic venues are now housed on campus creating a greater sense of a campus community. The initial phase of the Complex was completed in 2002.
- A one-of-a-kind partnership between the South Carolina Army National Guard and USC Upstate resulted in a shared new facility for the 228th Signal Brigade and the University. The $7 million facility has 55,000 square feet and is situated on a 12-acre site. The University is provided with additional classroom space, special events locations, hospitality rooms for the County University Soccer Stadium, dressing rooms for athletic teams and additional support facilities for The Louis P. Howell Athletic Complex. It was completed in 2003.
- The Susan Jacobs Arboretum is a place of serene natural beauty ideal for various activities. The 12-acre arboretum is named for Susan Jacobs, who is a graduate of The Mary Black School of Nursing at USC Upstate. It features a 300-seat amphitheater, lighted walkways, and foliage indigenous to the area. A meandering creek lined with stones and boulders completes this tranquil setting, providing an aesthetic backdrop, bridging the academic core with the rapidly growing north-end of campus. New to the Arboretum is the Dr. Lawrence E. Roël Garden Pavilion, which serves the campus as an outdoor classroom during the day with opportunities for recreational use in the evenings.
- Renovated in 2003, the P. Kathryn Hicks Visual Arts Center is named for Katie Hicks, a professor of art at USC Upstate for more than 30 years. The renovation of this building, nestled in the Susan Jacobs Arboretum, provides ample studio space for drawing, painting, graphic design, printmaking, digital imaging and three-dimensional design.
- The Palmetto House, a suite-style residence hall that houses 350 freshmen and sophomore students, opened on January 7, 2004. This $15.5 million project is a four-story, L-shaped building consisting of single and double occupancy rooms, computer labs, open areas, laundry facilities, postal center and housing management offices. The co-educational 105,000 square foot facility contributes to the sense of campus community and provides students with a rich living and learning environment.
- The Health Education Complex is the first major academic building to be built in the northern segment of the campus. It is situated on top of a hill with panoramic views of the beautiful Susan Jacobs Arboretum and of the main campus. The Complex houses the Mary Black School of Nursing and the School of Education, the Enrollment Management Offices, the Bookstore and the Wellness Center. The Wellness Center has an indoor track, basketball courts, racquet ball courts, a work-out room, a class studio, a swimming pool and locker rooms for both men and women. A food court is located in the Health Education Complex offering a variety of foods. It opened in November 2008.
- The beautiful six-acre Upstate Rotary International Peace Park is a place to relax, contemplate, watch, wish and pray for peace and understanding. Dedicated in April 2008, future plans for the park include boardwalks, walking paths, a conifer collection, shrub roses and ornamental grasses.
- Magnolia House is a 105,000-square-foot traditional-style complex that can house up to 352 freshman students in its 87 suites, including single or double rooms and handicap-accessible units. Special features of Magnolia House include eight study rooms for in-house tutoring, free laundry facilities, well-illuminated and gated parking lots, parking lot security cameras, emergency phones, and green space. It opened in fall 2009.
- In May 2010, the George Dean Johnson, Jr. College of Business and Economics opened in downtown Spartanburg. Affectionately known as “The George,” the 60,000-square-foot facility features a Stock Trading Lab where students make real time stock trading calls based on momentum, news and overall current-day stock market action. Smart classrooms, a large tiered classroom, meeting spaces, conference rooms, and beautiful exterior green space all provide a state-of-the-art learning environment for the nearly 1,000 business majors at USC Upstate.