House Ways and Means Committee approves millions for Charleston-area projects

State Rep. Leon Stavrinakis

The House Ways and Means Committee has approved millions for Charleston-area projects in the upcoming budget, said state Rep. Leon Stavrinakis.

Among the proposed appropriations agreed upon last week were:

$50 million for construction of a new Medical University of South Carolina children’s hospital.

$35 million for construction of the S.C. Aeronautical Training Center at Trident Technical College.

$2 million for the International African American Museum.

$4 million to The Citadel for the Deas, Byrd and Ducket Halls and the Daniel Library.

$12 million to the College of Charleston for the Simons Center for the Arts and the Stern Student Center.

The full House will begin discussing the budget March 9, said Stavrinakis, a Ways and Means committee member.

The committee last year only allocated $250,000 for the African American Museum, the Charleston Democrat said, so $2 million represents a significant jump.

But Charleston Mayor Joe Riley has said he hopes to bring in $5 million from the General Assembly this year, and an additional $5 million per year for the next three years.

Mike Robertson, spokesman for the College of Charleston, said if the money ultimately is approved, the college would use $10 million to convert the pool area in the Stern Center to gathering space and $2 million for renovation of the Simons Center.

“After the renovation is complete, the School of Arts will have a new black box theater, new classrooms, and many other support and teaching spaces that will serve a growing population of majors, general enrollments and the community,” Robertson said.

Trident Tech President Mary Thornley said the school already has $39.4 million committed to the $79 million training center. But it needs $39.4 million more.

The $35 million appropriation would bring the school closer to its goal.

“We are thrilled with this proposed funding because there is such a sense of urgency to move forward with this project,” Thornley said.

Reach Diane Knich at 843-937-5491 or on Twitter at @dianeknich.