Trustees Approve $21 Million Expansion of USC Upstate’s Library

The University of South Carolina Board of Trustees on Tuesday, Dec. 13, approved USC Upstate moving forward with a $21 million project that will enable the university to continue modernizing its 46-year-old Library and enhance the student experience on campus. The project includes the construction of a new 22,000-square-foot “annex” adjacent to the existing 74,000-square-foot Library building and a renovation of the building’s second floor. It will be cumulatively funded with appropriated state funds provided in the fiscal year budgets for 2022 and 2023.

“To remain competitive, we must continue to improve, and what better place to start than our Library—a building that is at the very center of our campus ecosystem,” said USC Upstate Chancellor Bennie L. Harris, Ph.D. “This investment from the state will invigorate our students, faculty, and staff by providing them with modern spaces to learn, work, and collaborate while positioning USC Upstate for future growth more effectively. USC Upstate is extremely grateful for our legislators and their support for advancing quality education in South Carolina.”

The annex is anticipated to be a flexible space with five to six large multipurpose rooms for classes or meetings. It may eventually house a range of student support services, such as the Student Success Center, Career Management Center, Center for International Studies, a testing center, commuter lounge, and labs for writing and math.  

“Since its completion in 1976, USC Upstate’s Library has served as a learning hub for students and the community,” said state Rep. Max Hyde, R-Spartanburg. “I applaud the university’s efforts to continue modernizing this space in support of its mission to provide life-changing opportunities to future generations of Spartans and residents of the Upstate region.” 

Renovation work will focus on repurposing existing classroom space for the Library’s archives and special collections, a reading room, quiet study rooms, and a Digital Commons Lab. The project will also address an urgent need to replace the building’s roof and mechanical HVAC system, and to improve acoustical isolation in classrooms throughout the building.

“This library addition will provide a welcoming, student-centered space that meets the academic support needs of all students and encourages collaborative, engaged learning,” said USC Upstate Provost and senior vice chancellor for academic affairs, Pam Steinke, Ph.D.

USC Upstate intends to select an architectural and engineering design team during the first quarter of 2023. The project is expected to be completed by Fall 2026.

The university recently completed a multi-phase renovation of the Library’s first floor, which resulted in a number of aesthetic, mechanical, technological, and operational improvements, as well as the installation of a Starbucks coffee shop and bistro.

“Our librarians, library staff, and I are excited about the continuing renovations to the Upstate Library building, plus the plans for a library annex,” said John Barnett, USC Upstate Library dean. “It shows a strong commitment from the university, the University of South Carolina board of trustees, and the state legislature to keep library facilities in top working order and to expand our footprint to meet the changing service and space needs of Upstate students, staff, and faculty. These initiatives illustrate everyone’s belief in the vital role libraries play in supporting student learning, research, and success.”