UNION COUNTY — The USC Union campus is expanding onto Main Street in downtown Union with a new bookstore and student center.
Campus Dr. Alice Taylor-Colbert said Thursday that USC Union is in the process of renovating the building at 311 E. Main St. She said the building, which was acquired on USC Union’s behalf and for its use by the Union-Laurens Commission on Higher Education, is being renovated to meet the needs of its students.
“The building will serve as two things,” Taylor-Colbert said. “The first is as our bookstore and the second is as our student center.
“In our Main Building, the lounge outside the bookstore on the ground floor is the only place for our students to gather,” she said. “Right now for entertainment our students have to go to the gym. Right now the students don’t have meeting space except for the library.”
All that will change once the renovations to the building at 311 E. Main St. are completed. Taylor-Colbert said that the front of the building will serve as new and enlarged bookstore while the rest of the building will serve as the new student center.
“As you look at the front there will be one entrance which will go down into a corridor and the bookstore will be off that corridor,” Taylor-Colbert said. “The bookstore will be carrying coffee and snacks, books, and also Gamecock, Bantam, and USC Union merchandise. It can accommodate 26 people and it will be open to the public.”
After the bookstore, the corridor will continue into the building to the student center.
“It will be significantly larger than the lounge, perhaps twice the size,” Taylor-Colbert said. “Inside the student center there will be two study or meeting rooms. There will be a large space that will have a ping pong table and tables and chairs for students to sit at. It will have a large screen TV and a television for video games. Students can check out video games from bookstore personnel.”
Taylor-Colbert said the assembly area in the student center will be able to accommodate 125 people at a time.
In addition to the student center itself, Taylor-Colbert said there is a patio behind the building where students will also be able to gather.
The renovations will also include an office area adjacent to the student center which Taylor-Colbert said will be used by the campus security officer.
Including furnishings, Taylor-Colbert said the renovations are projected to cost approximately $300,000. She said plans are for the renovations to be completed in December and the building opened in January.
Once the new bookstore is open, Taylor-Colbert said its old location in the Main Building will converted into at least two faculty offices. She said the adjacent lounge will eventually house faculty offices as well.
Enrollment Manager Brad Greer said that the student center will not only meet the needs of the campus’ current study body, but also make it more attractive to potential students.
“It’s just something students are interest in,” Greer said. “When we go out to recruit that’s something ask about. So we really think this will help increase enrollment.”
USC Union’s current enrollment is 481, up from 472 in the fall.
Greer added that the new facility will enhance USC Union’s presence in the downtown area.
“We like being on Main Street,” Greer said. “We like to have a presence there to be a more integral part of the community.”
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