CCU moves forward on construction projects, new programs

By Jennifer Grove - bio | email

CONWAY, SC (WMBF) - Coastal Carolina students moving into dorms over the weekend will arrive to find new construction projects and academic programs on campus.

The sounds of construction are beeping and buzzing all over the university.

"I think there's a lot of curiosity, a lot of construction sites popping up everywhere," student  Adam Lunsford said. "They're digging holes and piling up materials, so they're definitely wondering what's going on. "

Will Garland, senior vice president of finance and administration, said this year will be particularly busy when it comes to earth moving and building.

Projects underway include the completion of a baseball and softball hitting complex, work on the new convocation and recreation center, a central energy facility, and library and science expansion projects.

The new convocation and recreation center is slated to become the largest building on campus when finished.

While all of the new projects are raising excitement among students, they are also raising some concerns.

"You've got a lot of people fussing about it," Lunsford said. "You've got tuition going up and they're wondering why there's so much going on."

Garland said students should know that the projects are not affecting tuition. He said some of the projects are being paid for through bonds, but the majority of construction is being funded by a 1 percent local option sales tax.

Lunsford said that at the end of the day, students want to see all of the new buildings go green.

"The greening of the college campus is getting pushed real hard these days," Lunsford said. "A lot of students are looking to that; wanting to hold their campus to that standard."

Garland says they are committed to making all new buildings LEED certified.

"It simply means your building is more energy efficient," Garland explained. You've made use of natural light, you've made us of better airflow."

Lunsford says he cannot wait to see the finished products.

"I'm getting ready to graduate here in the next year," Lunsford said. "[I'm] wondering how things are going to look coming back and seeing the campus three or five years from now, how much it will change."

With more than $100 million worth of projects slated to be finished in the next three or four years, Garland says there will be plenty of changes for Lunsford to check out.

In addition to the new construction, new academic programs are also being offered beginning this semester.

Barbara Buckner, the associate provost for assessment and accreditation, said their staff has answered the call of President David DeCenzo and added a number of new majors and even three new masters programs to the school's offerings.

"This is unbelievable," Buckner said. "To have 10 new programs is something that is usually not done. You might have one program you might have two programs, we went for a long time with the same programs."

The university will also be unveiling a new honesty pledge at their convocation next week. Officials say the college has had an integrity code in the past, but they are now putting new emphasis on holding students accountable in and out of the classroom through the code.

"It's been buried in the process," Travis Overton, director of student conduct explained. "But now we're working to kind of put a life with it so that the academic integrity code is embedded into students minds as a part of the community."

Copyright 2010 WMBF News. All rights reserved.