CONWAY, SC (WMBF) - Coastal Carolina University brings in nearly 10,000 students into our area and with that enrollment number expected to rise, the school is bustling with construction.
One of Coastal's biggest projects, brand new student housing, is underway. It sits right behind the brand new HTC center on campus. This is an $85- million project.
The university is in the process of building four new buildings which will add 1,274 beds onto campus. The facility will also feature offices for staff, large community spaces and high security.
The Director of CCU Housing Steve Harrison said development and funding have been in the works for a few years now.
This is a two phase project. The university will open two buildings at a time. The first phase of this project, will be complete once new students hit the campus this fall. This will allow for more students to live on campus, and eventually make room for a larger student body. The second phase will be completed Fall of 2016.
“First and foremost thing is we've grown to an extent where our original infrastructure couldn't match that student number,” said Harrison. “Mostly, its we're catching up with our growth.”
Harrison said constantly developing the look and feel of the campus, could bring more students in and keep them here longer.
“Making sure we're staying on the cutting edge so that spaces like the HTC center, and our residence halls and our academic buildings, our labs, all those things, keep up with the latest technology and the latest opportunity to really push themselves and become the citizens we hope they'll be to change this community and the world,” he said.
There's a total of
major renovations and additions CCU is pushing through. This includes these new residence halls, being built. On top of that, the university is adding more classrooms, including new science buildings. The school is also renovating some existing buildings. For example, the Atheneum Hall grand opening is March 16.
All of these projects are scheduled to be completed in the next two years. Some, like a new dining hall, could be open in a few weeks.
The new baseball complex, should be ready for it's first game, which is just days away.
Some projects on the list, like new parking, have already been completed.
All of this construction is due to the growth and expansion the University has been seeing. Retention is up this year and last, more prospective students are showing interest and the university wants to continue that upward trend.
CCU has seen a 20% increase in enrollment in the past five years. They don't want this to stop, that's why they're building more housing to accommodate future students.
The goal is more than 12,000 students in the next five years.
This new housing, allows for that. CCU leaders say the goal is for the millions of dollars being pumped into all this construction, will create a ripple effect in the community.
"Our hope is that they get to know Conway, they get to know the Grand Strand and they fall in love with it and they stay for years to come,” said Harrison.
The universities statistics hold strong. The latest numbers from 2012 estimate that more than 4,100 jobs in Horry County are tied directly or indirectly to CCU.