2005-09-09 / Business

Envisioning Moore

By John Temple Ligon

Looking to the southeast from the corner of Pendleton and Henderson Streets
Looking to the southeast from the corner of Pendleton and Henderson Streets

The Moore School of Business building is nine stories high and more than 30 years old. Composed of two sections, actually constructed on a staggered timetable, the business school is housed in the Close Building facing College Street and the Hipp Building facing Pendleton Street. The building is falling a bit behind in the competition for faculty and students. In other words, academic programs and world rankings seriously rank high in the sale to prospects, but architecture is still part of the pitch.

Rendering courtesy of USC
Rendering courtesy of USC Designed by GMK Associates, the business school building reflects its origins. The same firm designed the Highway Department building on Park Street and the (then) AT&T office tower at the corner of Gervais and Assembly Streets.

After a world–wide search, the business school tapped Hillier Architects of Princeton, NJ. Hillier had recently designed buildings for 17 business schools around the country, and they had just finished the Beattie Center at the College of Charleston. But when Hillier underwent personnel changes, the Moore School followed its favorite talent to ikon.5 architects in the person of design architect Joseph G. Tattoni, AIA.

Joined with ikon.5 was LS3P ASSOCIATES LTD. of Charleston. Scott Baker, AIA, of LS3P’s Charlotte office is the project principal for the renovation/addition to the Moore School. LS3P began in Charleston in 1963 as Lucas & Stubbs, and the three P’s attached over ten years later.

Since the Moore School project came into the firm, LS3P opened a Columbia office. Mary Beth Branham, AIA, vice president at LS3P, runs the Columbia presence. Among many other Midlands projects, her office is working with the Beach Co. on their CanalSide development.

A large comprehensive business school with more than 3,500 students in its undergraduate, master’s, and doctoral programs, the Moore School is part of the business graduate education boom over the past 40 years. In 1960, fewer than 5,000 MBA degrees were conferred; in 2000, over 100,000, according to the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business.

The association had accredited 430 business schools by 2000, up from 287 in 1990. The increase in schools brought an increase in competition for the best faculties and the best students. Architecture is a weapon in the hunt.

The original renovation plan called for the existing building to be completely retrofitted, but the cost was hard to contain. As plans progressed, costs were added up to $60 million, while the budget held at $45 million.

The solution came with a 50,000 sq. ft. addition on the Pendleton Street side, a separate connected compound for the graduate school. Four stories high, the new graduate school building is selling naming rights for $10 million. But there’s a catch, and it’s a good one.

Darla Moore, the school’s major benefactor, pledged the first $5 million for the building’s naming rights, so only $5 million is needed to get the name.

The proposed timetable is to construct the new graduate school building first, starting in mid–2006, and then go into the Close and the Hipp sections, always accommodating the continuation of classes. The projected budget allows $25 million for the new graduate school building which includes new parking and also buys furnishings and cutting–edge equipment. Another $20 million is budgeted for the upgrade in the existing building.

There are numerous other naming opportunities at various levels of giving. For more information, call Bob Gayle, director of development, 777-4902.

Rendering courtesy of USC

Right: The new

graduate building is on the Pendleton Street side, creating a courtyard next to the existing

building. The Hollings National Advocacy Center is to the left, and the Inn at USC is across

Pendleton Street

from the NAC.

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