Construction personnel assured University of South Carolina trustees Friday that the new Darla Moore School of Business building on Assembly Street will be ready for viewing in 60 days — despite some skepticism from board member Mack Whittle.
The Assembly Street building, which was originally scheduled to be open in January, was pushed back last year to May of this year, although it now looks like it won’t be ready until the end of June. Plans call for the trustees to see the finished building after their June 20 business meeting.
Whittle, who toured the building two weeks ago, had his doubts the construction team would make it.
David Lindsay of Cumming Construction Management, the university’s subcontractor, told trustees that the building had come a long way since then, noting that it’s not a project that can be rushed.
“I quizzed a number of the construction guys,” Whittle said, “and they were very hesitant to say it would be ready, so I’m encouraged to hear that you’ve made a lot of progress in the last two weeks.”
“It’s a very complex building,” Lindsay said, “and we are working. Speed is very important, but quality is our ultimate priority. We’ve been working hand in hand with the Moore School, daily and weekly, as to what their needs are, and to accommodate those needs. They’ve been very involved in the process.
We only get one chance to do this building, and we want to ensure that it’s built correctly and of the utmost quality.”
University architect Derek Gruner told trustees that the school’s top benefactor, Darla Moore, toured the building two weeks ago, and was pleased with the progress.
“For two days, she was inside the building,” said Gruner. “She was very complimentary. She loves what she sees,” he said, and even took construction workers aside to compliment them on their work.
Moore was joined by the school’s architect, Rafael Viñoly, who likewise approved of how the building had taken shape.
“I think from the very beginning, the building was thought of as an anchor for the future development of the Innovista district and it really looks like such in many ways,” Viñoly said in a published interview with the university.
Students are expected to be in the building by the end of August, with a grand opening ceremony scheduled for Sept. 12.
Jeff Lamberson, USC’s director of facilities design and construction, said in a Monday interview that the school would be substantially complete by the end of June.
Lindsay also noted that the building will meet its long-term goal to attain a LEED Platinum and a Net-Zero energy rating, meaning the building will generate as much energy as it consumes.
“We’re very proud of that,” he said.
This will make the Moore School the first platinum facility on campus, as well as the largest such facility in the state, said Lamberson.
Also, Lindsay said, “we’ve been working very closely with SCE&G on an Energy Wise Rebate Program that they’ve been offering that focuses on energy-efficient equipment and energy savings. They’ve completed their review of the design and the facility and have approved us for a $489, 000 rebate.”
The $106.5 million, 250,000-square-feet, five-level project will include a visitors center, a digital library, a trading room with stock market ticker boards, a café, an open-air courtyard and a green space. There will be 31 classrooms for business school students, and another 30 rooms or spaces that can be booked for meetings.
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