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USC Marks ‘Topping Out’ of New Darla Moore School of Business

As a crane lifted a 28-foot beam weighing more than 1,000 pounds into place on the new Darla Moore School of Business, University of South Carolina President Harris Pastides described the $106.5 million building as USC’s most ambitious construction ever. The Columbia Business Report said President Pastides, trustees and benefactor Darla Moore joined Moore School students, faculty and staff for a topping out ceremony on the 251,891-square-foot, six-story building.

USC officials said the open and flexible design is intended to foster interaction and collaboration among students and faculty in new ways, and be a hub for community engagement.

The new Darla Moore School of Business is on track to become the largest LEED Platinum building in South Carolina, with the university pursuing a Net-Zero rating through a partnership between the Moore School and the U.S. Department of Energy.

Here are some of the statistics about the building, and the companies that are building it.

Architect      Rafael Vinoly Architects of New York.

Construction management      Gilbane Co., Cumming and Brownstone Construction Group.

Local contractors      Many Columbia contractors have played a role in the structural phase. Gregory Electric Co., Taylor Brothers Construction, Loveless Commercial Contracting, Owen Steel Co. Inc., W.O. Blackstone & Co. and HR Allen Inc. account for $42 million of the $82 million in construction. With the addition of more local contractors, USC expects that number to grow to more than $60 million spent locally.

Construction jobs      Approximately 1,640 jobs have been created as a result of the construction of the new Darla Moore School of Business building.

Construction timeline      Site preparation began December 2011. The scheduled opening date is December 2013.

Levels      The building will have six levels: zero (maintenance, kitchen preparation); one (student learning, lecture and performance hall); two (main level, services); three (executive education, conference center and administrative offices); four (faculty offices and a research lab); and five (rooftop with two pavilions).

Design features      The building will feature an open and flexible design to foster interaction and collaboration. The expansive use of glass will enable visitors to see into the building’s main level, which will include a visitor’s center, a digital library, a trading room with stock market ticker boards and a cafe. It also will feature an open-air courtyard with a pavilion, a free-standing space for lectures and special events, and a green space called the Palmetto Court featuring groupings of large sabal palms.

Technology      Advanced telepresence technology by Cisco and Polycom will be installed in a variety of locations throughout the building, including some executive education classrooms, to allow real-time communication and teaching involving multiple sites around the world. Technology will be present in all classrooms, conference rooms, lecture halls and the library to provide greater flexibility in learning and potential for collaboration.

School of Music partnership      A $1.5 million contribution from the School of Music will go toward the construction of a 500-seat lecture and performance hall. It will augment current university musical performance spaces that include a 2,000-seat hall in the Koger Center for the Performing Arts and a 250-seat recital hall in the School of Music.

Structural components

  • 3,900 tons of structural and reinforcing steel (equivalent to the amount of steel used to build 3,250 automobiles).
  • 240,000 square feet of metal decking (enough to cover 5.5 acres).
  • 30,000 shop and field bolts used to affix beams and girders.
  • 17,000 cubic yards of concrete (approximately 52.2 miles of sidewalk).

Green design      The new Darla Moore School of Business is on track to become the largest LEED Platinum building in South Carolina and is pursuing a Net-Zero rating through a partnership between the school and the U.S. Department of Energy. The building maximizes natural light throughout. Each level shades the one below it. Special “chill beams” on the second level will cool and heat, eliminating ductwork and mechanical air on that level. A variety of green roofs are being constructed. The green roofs on the second, third and fifth levels create garden environments within the school. The green roof on the fourth level and above the pavilion, which is situated in the interior courtyard, provides insulation and heat reflection.  Read More.


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