COLUMBIA -- The University of South Carolina broke ground Friday on a $105 million home for the Darla Moore School of Business, which officials said will be more than just a bunch of classrooms.
The new building is a critical component of the university's Innovista campus, which is supposed to be a center for high-tech businesses and research work, but has struggled to get private donations to help reach its full potential.
Officials hope to have the new 250,000-square-foot building finished by the end of 2013. It will include research labs and have the flexibility to allow almost all classrooms to become distance learning centers. The building, located beside the old Carolina Coliseum several blocks from the Statehouse, also will include a lecture hall designed so the nearby School of Music can use it for performances.
"It is a day of wonder, imagination and celebration," university President Harris Pastides said at the ceremony.
The business school's old building will be renovated by the U.S. Justice Department. The agency already operates the National Advocacy Center on campus, which trains about 10,000 prosecutors, investigators and other legal personnel. The department will expand its South Carolina operations, moving some of its U.S. attorney operations from Washington. The rent the federal agency pays will help defray costs of the new business school.
Darla Moore was not at the groundbreaking. Pastides said she sent her regrets Thursday night. Moore has pledged $70 million to USC since 1998 and served on the school's Board of Trustees for 12 years before Gov. Nikki Haley decided to replace her earlier this year with her own appointee.