Campuses on the move soon

The College of Charleston North Campus and the Lowcountry Graduate Center are losing their space near the Charleston International Airport and are looking for a new home.

Boeing announced last month that it would buy three buildings from the South Carolina Research Authority, including the one in which the schools have leased space since 2002. The company plans to expand operations, and needed space at the Research Authority’s office complex, which is adjacent to the Boeing Co. 787 campus off International Boulevard in North Charleston.

Steve Osborne, the college’s executive vice president for business affairs, told the Board of Trustees’ executive committee Tuesday that the college needed to quickly begin looking for new space.

The lease for both the North Campus and the graduate center runs through June 2014, Osborne said. But the college likely will have to renovate and improve the space it leases. So it needs to begin the process as soon as possible.

The college offers undergraduate courses at the North Campus, said college Provost George Hynd. And the graduate center offers graduate and certificate programs,

A new home with more space likely will benefit the schools, Hynd said.

“We have hit capacity in some programs,” he said. The new location will allow us to provide “a robust expansion of what we offer there.”

Osborne said the location now is accessible because it is near the intersection of Interstates 26 and 526. The new location also must be close to an interstate, have an adequate amount of space at a reasonable price, and have space for parking.

The college now pays about $500,000 annually to lease space for the North Campus and graduate center, he said.

The center is a collaboration between the college, The Citadel and the Medical University of South Carolina. The University of South Carolina and Clemson University also have offered courses and programs there. The center was formed so Lowcountry students wouldn’t have to travel to other parts of the state to earn graduate degrees.

Godfrey Gibbison, dean of the North Campus and interim director of the graduate center, said currently four master’s degrees and six certificate programs are offered at the center.

Last fall, 548 students took at least one course through the center and 411 took at least one course at the North Campus.

Hynd said programs in the new building will be open to anyone but will be geared to students who are 24 or older.

And he hopes the college finds a place quickly. “From an academic standpoint, it would be great to at least know where we will be within three to six months.”

Gibbison said a new building represents “a chance to start new and fresh, and to expand. It’s all exciting,” he said.

Reach Diane Knich at 937-5491 or on Twitter @dianeknich.

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