Wilbur O. and Ann Powers College of Business

New home for Clemson business school clears final hurdle


Final approval has been given for construction of a new home for Clemson University’s College of Business.

Following approval by the State Fiscal Accountability Authority on Tuesday, work on one of the biggest academic building projects in school history is expected to begin this fall and be ready for occupancy in early 2020.

The $87 million, 170,000-square-foot building across from Bowman Field will create a new academic precinct for future campus expansion and nearly double the space for business education at Clemson. Construction will be funded through state appropriations, private gifts and institutional bonds.

University leaders praised the approval for construction, which will result in a major change to the Clemson landscape as a new north campus academic precinct is being created.

“This new home for our outstanding College of Business is a key component of the university’s ongoing efforts to provide the type of academic facilities necessary to keep Clemson among the very best public universities in the country,” said Clemson President James P. Clements. “We very much appreciate the support from our leaders in state government for this extremely important project and look forward to breaking ground on what will become one of the finest business education facilities in the country.”

Emeritus Clemson Trustee and noted architect Allen Wood said, “The board of trustees could not be more excited about the design and location of this new world-class addition to our campus.”

Brett Dalton, executive vice president for finance and operations, and Bobby McCormick, business school dean, said construction of a new home for the College of Business is ushering in a new era for one of the fastest-growing academic disciplines on campus.

“This state-of-the-art building is designed for 21st century learning and will provide much-needed space for a segment of our student population that is growing each year,” Dalton said. “In addition, the project will be the centerpiece of a new footprint being created for future expansion of our campus.”

Added McCormick: “Clemson has taken another huge step as a world-class institution by growing its business education capabilities. This new facility will shine an even brighter light on our ability to shape students’ leadership, innovation and entrepreneurial skills. This is a historic project in size and scope because of the impact it will have on Clemson University’s future as a whole.”

McCormick and Dalton called the building’s location “sacred” as it will become the centerpiece of the new academic precinct north of Walter T. Cox Boulevard. University leaders anticipate thousands of students will eventually occupy up to 600,000 to 700,000 square feet of building space across from historic Bowman Field.

The College of Business building approval culminates 2½ years of planning on the dual-tower, five-story structure. McCormick said, “it wasn’t the product of one person, but a tremendous and very cohesive team effort that will allow students to encounter a deeper learning experience.”

Scott May of LSP3, the project’s lead architect, said careful consideration was given to respecting the character of other buildings on campus, particularly those iconic structures that are within eyeshot.

“The planning team has created something timeless by mixing old and new,” May said. “We didn’t want to replicate the likes of Tillman, Sikes or Godfrey, but rather take cues from them to maintain the campus’s structural harmony.”

The predominantly brick and glass towers will feature an open design that includes an atrium. The towers will be connected above ground by an expansive outdoor stairway leading to a plaza and overlooking Bowman Field and by an interior hallway on the building’s first floor. In addition to a multitude of technology-equipped classrooms, the building will house faculty and staff support offices, the college’s institutes and many shared learning spaces.

“We purposely created a collaborative environment that will foster random collisions for faculty and students,” McCormick said. “This 21st century design has put Clemson in a strengthened position to becoming nationally recognized as a program of choice for business education. Clemson means business now, more than ever.”

LMN Architects of Seattle is designing the building in collaboration with the Greenville office of South Carolina-based LS3P, the architect of record. Construction is expected to commence late this fall with occupancy anticipated in 2020.

Other members of the project team include DPR, general contractor/construction management, and OLIN landscape architecture.

Among those serving on the architectural design review committee were James F. Barker, Clemson president from 1999 to 2013 and professor of architecture, and Wood.

Sirrine Hall, the business school’s current home, will become swing space for people transitioning to new locations on campus due to renovation or new construction.

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