Charleston Southern University builds first residence hall in decades

By: | April 23, 2019
To ensure students could move in by March 2019, Charleston Southern University officials expedited the one-year project by having the walls built off-site from concrete and foam rather than brick and mortar. Cranes then brought the pieces back to campus. “The walls were put together like a puzzle,” says Carter. The property also includes 182 resident parking spaces and a detention pond, which temporarily stores stormwater runoff.To ensure students could move in by March 2019, Charleston Southern University officials expedited the one-year project by having the walls built off-site from concrete and foam rather than brick and mortar. Cranes then brought the pieces back to campus. “The walls were put together like a puzzle,” says Carter. The property also includes 182 resident parking spaces and a detention pond, which temporarily stores stormwater runoff.

Charleston Southern University has constructed its first new residence hall in more than 30 years. A second 52,000-square-foot student housing facility will soon follow.

Challenge: Every fall since 2015, more students enrolled at Charleston who don’t live in the immediate area are required to live on campus, so we have an obligation to house them,” says D. Clark Carter, dean of students.

Originally, students not assigned to a dorm lived on the second floor of an on-campus hotel managed by Charleston Southern University officials. Others commuted from two nearby hotels. Students moved into residence halls at the end of the semester.


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“Most students liked living at a hotel, but making sure they could get back and forth safely presented a unique challenge,” says Carter.

Meanwhile, those living on campus wanted more types of rooms to choose from.

Solution: Student feedback led to a 209-bed hall with 53 suites that feature a brand-new floor plan: two rooms that each accommodate a pair of roommates. Honors society members get first dibs to approximately five of these suites, which also contain a lounge space and bathroom. Every student also receives a fob to access the building, their suite and bedroom.

The hall, located on over 4 acres, houses a community kitchen and 40-person conference room.

As added incentive, the university provides money to commuting students to live there. “I’d be surprised if we aren’t full this fall,” says Carter. “And if we have an overflow of students, we could always use the second floor of our hotel again.”

View the different residence halls at Charleston Southern University.

Cost: $15.2 million

Completion: March 2019

Project team: General Contractor: Trident Construction (North Charleston, SC); architect: McMillan Pazdan Smith Architects (Spartanburg); civil engineer: Forsberg Engineering and Surveying, Inc. (Charleston); structural engineer: Britt, Peters & Associates, Inc. (Mt. Pleasant); MPE & Fire Protection: RMF Engineering (Charleston)