New Construction

Furman University Plans $70M Residence Hall Renovation Project

Furman University in Greenville, S.C., is gearing up to tackle the largest construction project in its history. Groundbreaking starts this Saturday, Feb. 12, for a comprehensive renovation of South Housing that involves constructing a new residence hall and renovating four others. All halls under construction will serve first-year students, said the university. Construction is scheduled to begin in March and be finished in time for students to move in for the fall 2023 semester.

According to a university news release, “The project will replace the current Blackwell Hall, relocate the Center for Inclusive Communities into the new hall, and introduce a host of modern amenities in the new and existing halls designed to support student success and belonging, enhancing the first-year experience for Furman students.”

Blackwell Hall will continue housing students until the project’s completion. Blackwell is tentatively scheduled for demolition in May 2024.

According to a news release, the project comes with a budget of $70 million and will be funded through financing. About $31.2 million of that will go toward the new residence hall’s construction.

“By reimagining the first-year residence hall from the ground up, we are creating a vibrant student hub, one with new personal and social spaces for students to gather and connect for years to come, setting their trajectory for success at Furman and beyond,” said University President Elizabeth Davis. “This project enhances the safety, accessibility, security and privacy components of all the residence halls in South Housing, while also advancing the university’s sustainability goals.”

Residence halls scheduled for renovation include Manly Hall, Geer Hall, McGlothlin Hall and Poteat Hall. Once complete, the total number of beds available for students in the first-year housing complex will rise to 718. Renovations will include safety upgrades, accessibility at entrances, new bathroom fixtures and layouts, IT improvements and new collaboration spaces. The news release states that evaluations of Blackwell Hall concluded that replacing the building would be cheaper than renovating it.

“The South Housing renovation and construction project will not only enhance the residential experience for first-year students, but will create a residential village that strengthens the connection to the core of campus, much like the Trone Student Center renovation and boardwalk provided a few years ago,” said Connie Carson, vice president for Student Life. “The first-year South Housing experience will better connect students to each other in the various halls while serving as a centerpiece for student activity both inside and outside residence halls.”

The university is partnering with design firms McMillan Pazdan Smith and Mackey Mitchell Architects in a 55-45 contact agreement, as well as with construction management company Rodgers Builders.

The estimated timeline for the project includes:

  • Phase 1: New residence hall construction: March 2022 – July 2023
  • Phase 2: Renovations to Poteat and McGlothlin Halls: May 2023 – December 2023
  • Phase 3: Renovations to Manly and Geer Halls: January 2024 – August 2024
  • Completing landscape and hardscape: August 2024 – November 2024

About the Author

Matt Jones is senior editor of Spaces4Learning. He can be reached at [email protected].