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USC selects lead development team for health sciences campus in BullStreet District

map showing location of future USC health campus

The University of South Carolina has selected Gilbane to lead the planning, design, development and construction of the university’s health sciences campus in the BullStreet District in downtown Columbia, South Carolina.

The initial engagement with Gilbane was presented to the Board of Trustees at its Tuesday (Dec. 13) meeting. 

“Gilbane has assembled a world-class design and construction team that will provide innovation and expertise to develop a health sciences campus to serve USC and the state of South Carolina for many generations into the future,” said Derek Gruner, university architect.

Gilbane, which has a local office on Devine Street in Columbia and is headquartered in Providence, Rhode Island, will serve as the primary developer. The company has vast experience in health care, health sciences and higher education-affiliated projects, including hospitals, university medical schools and more. Gilbane Building Company has successfully collaborated with USC for over 17 years, with seven projects delivered on campus since 2005, and was ranked as the nation’s No. 1 education facilities builder by Engineering News-Record in 2021.

“Gilbane understands the meaningful impact this project will have within the local community and throughout the state,” said John Keegan, vice president of Gilbane Development Company. “Embracing a spirit of partnership and collaboration, we look forward to helping realize the vision for the health sciences campus within the BullStreet District, achieving exceptional outcomes for USC and the greater Columbia community.” 

The university’s health sciences campus is expected to have a transformational impact on health science research and health care delivery in the state of South Carolina. The campus will provide state-of-the-art space for clinical education and bring together eminent researchers to help meet South Carolina’s health challenges. The initial stage of the health sciences campus will include a medical education building to house the School of Medicine Columbia and a multidisciplinary research building. Together, the two buildings will provide an estimated 292,000 gross square feet. Current plans call for construction to begin in 2025 and to be completed in 2027.

Julius Fridriksson

“By expanding our capacity to educate physicians and other health-care professionals, we will increase our impact on the health and well-being of the Palmetto State’s citizens.”

Julius Fridriksson, vice president for research

Long-term plans for the campus include a brain center that will build on the university’s McCausland Center for Brain Imaging and offer South Carolinians more options for the treatment of Alzheimer’s, dementia and other brain-related conditions.

Overall, the health sciences campus represents a $300 million investment.

“By expanding our capacity to educate physicians and other health-care professionals, we will increase our impact on the health and well-being of the Palmetto State’s citizens,” said Julius Fridriksson, vice president for research. “The new health sciences campus will also provide a cutting-edge setting where our faculty can unleash their drive for innovation in the health sector, discovering new lifesaving and health-promoting technologies through increased research and development.”

Other key contractors include lead design architect The SLAM Collaborative (Atlanta, Georgia, and Glastonbury, Connecticut) collaborating with local architect BOUDREAUX (Columbia, South Carolina), construction manager Cummings (Columbia, South Carolina), operations manager Honeywell (Wabash, Indiana), construction manager and minority business Brownstone Design and Construction Group (Columbia, South Carolina), and development consultant and minority- and women-owned business Restoration 52 (Greenville, South Carolina).

The university is committed to including minority and women-owned businesses in its contracts; its goal for subcontracting participation is 30 percent for design and construction entities.

Along with Gilbane’s breadth of experience in health science and medical school developments, the SLAM Collaborative brings a history that includes the UNC School of Medicine’s Medical Education Building, Duke University’s School of Medicine Medical Education Building, Emory’s Health Science District Redevelopment / Rollins School of Public Health and the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas.

The university’s health sciences campus will help drive development in the BullStreet District and beyond. The 181-acre campus is the largest city-center development east of the Mississippi River. It is already home to Segra Park and the Columbia Fireflies minor league baseball team; residential developments TownPark and The Babcock; outdoors retailer REI; law firms Ogletree Deakins and Robinson Gray; web developer truematter; and more.

“We are excited to welcome the USC health sciences campus in the BullStreet District,” said Robert Hughes, president of Hughes Development Corporation, the master developer of the BullStreet District. “All of the students, faculty, and staff will be a great addition to the vibrancy of the district. The training and research conducted here will extend throughout the community and state to produce a better quality of life for our people through better health care. We are honored to be a part of it.”