Popular plaza outside Columbia's art museum will look completely different next year


COLUMBIA, SC - A popular downtown community gathering space – a place for Saturday morning market meet-ups, Thursday night concerts, outdoor movies, seasonal ice skating and more – is about to get a big overhaul.

Boyd Plaza, outside the Columbia Museum of Art, will look very different by this time next year.

New landscaping, seating areas, signage and a redesigned fountain will create a location “that feels like a downtown park,” architect Doug Quackenbush, of Quackenbush Architects, said.

The most striking features of the renovated plaza will be a pair of pavilions flanking the main entrance of the museum.

To the left of the entrance, a large covered pavilion with roll-down canvas walls will offer a space for indoor-outdoor-style events. And to the right, a smaller, pavilion covered by an open trellis will sit on a platform overlooking Main Street.

“It will be completely open to the public to sit up there and people watch or enjoy an afternoon,” Quackenbush said. “There aren’t that many of those types of spaces in Columbia.”

The new-look Boyd Plaza means an end to the Main Street Ice skating rink in that location, where thousands have skated for the past six holiday seasons. City officials reportedly are considering possible alternative locations for the ice rink.

The goal of the redesigned plaza is to “have it be a more user-friendly place for people to land on any given day,” said Joelle Ryan-Cook, the museum’s deputy director. “It’ll be a shadier space. It’ll be a space that’s more comfortable to sit and relax.”

And it will be designed to accommodate larger events, from the museum’s quarterly Arts & Draughts bash to events hosted by outside organizations, Ryan-Cook said.

The plaza renovation is a gift to the city from the Darnall W. and Susan F. Boyd Foundation Inc., foundation president George Bailey said. The foundation initiated the project because it felt the plaza was “looking kind of tired” and wanted to make it more of an asset for community use, Bailey said.

An early estimate for the project’s cost is around $2.8 million, Bailey said, though that figure could change.

It will complement a $5 million renovation already underway inside the museum, which has been recognized as one of the best museums in the country, winning the 2016 National Medal for Museum and Library Service.

Construction on Boyd Plaza is expected to begin late next spring or in the summer, Ryan-Cook said. Both the plaza and interior renovations should be complete by late next fall, she said.

Read the original story here. Read more on the project here. See the video here and here.

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Q+ Architects Welcomes Senior Interior Designer, Introduces Q+ Interiors Studio


COLUMBIA, SC –November 20, 2017 – Quackenbush Architects + Planners is pleased to welcome Jessica Koumas, NCIDQ, to the firm as a Senior Interior Designer.  Koumas’ addition is in line with the firm’s goal to launch a Q+ Interiors Studio to expand and enhance its focus on comprehensive interior design services. 

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Midlands Technical College opens Learning Resource Center on Beltline Campus

Midlands Technical College (MTC) officially opened its $14.5 million Learning Resource Center on the college’s Beltline Campus. Representatives from local, county, and state government helped cut the ribbon before touring the 43,000-square-foot facility, the newest building on any Midlands Technical College campus.

“We are so proud to offer this beautiful new facility to our students and the community,” said Midlands Technical College President Dr. Ronald L. Rhames. “You could call this center the new ‘front door’ to the MTC Beltline Campus. It is specifically designed to provide a space for our students that encourages collaboration, as well as educational and personal success. Students can come here and have access to all the great resources MTC offers, under one roof."

The Learning Resource Center replaces the 24,000-square-foot Beltline Campus Library constructed in 1967. Designed by Quackenbush Architects + Planners to be a highly collaborative and technology-focused learning space, construction on the new facility began in June 2015.

“It really is state-of-the-art when it comes to technology,” said Rhames. “Students use the center’s interactive and multimedia technology to study together, conduct research together, learn together, and grow together as a student community. The Learning Resource Center really makes a great learning environment because of the integrated space.”

MTC Library Director Florence Mays said giving students access to the latest educational technology not only prepares them for success in the classroom, but for success further down the road.

The Learning Resource Center has classrooms, study rooms, dedicated tutoring space, and a variety of other student-resource rooms spread throughout its three floors. More than 100 computers are available to students throughout the two levels of the main library area.

The building is also designed as a place for students to mingle, collaborate, and “stay-a-while,” versus returning home between classes. Ten study rooms of various sizes are located throughout the building.

Students can also engage in interactive learning through research portals, touch screens, whiteboard walls, multimedia classrooms, and the library’s collection of print and electronic informational materials.

In addition to the latest technology resources, the new building gives students the life-skills resources they may need to find and keep a job after graduation. Thanks to support from Bill and Lou Kennedy of Nephron Pharmaceuticals, the Learning Resource Center is also home to the William Jerry Wood Life Skills Center on the Beltline Campus.

“This building is more than just windows, brick, and mortar,” said MTC Commission Chair Garry Powers. “It is emblematic of what makes Midlands Technical College so important to this community. Part of that is the new Life Skills Center. Midlands Technical College has made a commitment to help people develop life skills along with career development.”

As part of its strategic plan, Midlands Technical College is working to integrate life skills such as effective communication, teamwork, punctuality, integrity, work ethic, self-direction, and interpersonal skills into 90% of its programs.

From being the new “front door” to the MTC Beltline Campus, to the place students turn for the skills they will need throughout their careers and lives, Rhames said the Learning Resource Center is a place where students can build a campus community before moving into great careers in the Midlands.

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Q+ proud to announce Wendy Bertani as part of AIASC LDA

COLUMBIA, SC – September 26, 2017 – Quackenbush Architects + Planners is pleased to announce Wendy Bertani as part of the 2017-2018 class of The American Institute of Architects South Carolina Leadership Development Academy.

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Gamecocks' facilities and success continue to grow

COLUMBIA – One wall, complete with rebar and temporary wooden construction platforms, has risen. South Carolina’s $50 million football operations building – called “a game-changer" by coach Will Muschamp – is in the very early stages of taking shape.

Construction and renovations have been a consistent part of USC athletics over the past decade, and while there’s always something else to do, major projects have an end in sight. What won’t end is the across-the-board success of the Gamecocks’ teams, or at least that’s the plan now that USC has caught up or in some cases surpassed the rest of the SEC or Power-5 schools.

“I would say the last decade, the success that we’ve had in multiple championships, including multiple conference and national championships, has been unprecedented in the history of the university,” said Chuck Allen, a Board of Trustees member, former football captain and 2017 inductee in the USC Athletic Hall of Fame. “It’s extremely gratifying as an alumnus. I came here 40 years ago, but I always thought this university, athletically speaking, was a sleeping giant.”

A project that began with the Dodie Anderson Academic Enrichment Center has touched nearly every sport, constructing new buildings or dressing up some of the older ones. The football ops building is the last piece of the puzzle (set to be finished midway through the 2018 season) and then USC can look around and see where it stands.

It’s forever an arms race, particularly in college football, and all geared toward recruiting. What stands out to the future players? What is that school up or down the road doing?

Those window-dressing details will be the next phase of USC’s athletic life, while fans hope the wins continue to mount.

“It is one of my personal goals as a member of the leadership team to win the national title in football,” said Allen, defensive captain in 1980 when offensive captain George Rogers won the Heisman Trophy. “Remember, just a few seasons ago we finished fourth in the nation after several years of top-10 finishes. After the current restoration is complete, it is my firm expectation to be a national contender again.”

Williams-Brice Stadium has a few more bells and whistles these days, a new Block C logo on the back of the south end zone and a tricked-out recruit entrance. More graphics and logos for the concourses are on the way.

Colonial Life Arena just finished a $4 million project installing a new scoreboard and surrounding ribbon boards, and an indoor track under the roof of the former indoor football fieldhouse is nearing completion. When all of these projects began over a decade ago, many looked at USC’s spotty athletic achievement record and wondered if it was all worth it.

The Gamecocks have seven team national championships in their history, and six have been won since 2005. 


Allen credited the leaders and decision-makers for making solid investments and wisely using the resources USC has. Before, the Gamecocks seemed content to wallow in melancholy, accepting “the Chicken Curse” as real. Since breaking through, USC has come to expect grand success.

“In the past, I think we kind of self-imposed some limitations due to the mentality. That’s been removed,” Allen said. “Expectations affect outcomes. For a 40-year observer, it’s a striking difference. We used to be so filled with self-pity.”

The Gamecocks’ last two basketball seasons, featuring two Final Fours and a national championship, are credited with driving freshman enrollment up by nearly 700 students this year. USC is bustling along the path toward someday reaching an enrollment of 40,000. Allen, who came to USC in 1977, sometimes has to pinch himself about the level of athletic excitement that exists, when frankly, it didn’t for so many years.

“I’m excited about our future and the leadership under our new chairman, John C. von Lehe Jr.,” he said. “Resources are very important, the leadership has been excellent, and I would credit the leadership of the university with making good decisions and doing a very good job. They’ve done a better job of managing even when there’s adversity or there’s difficulty or challenges, and there’s been better decisions.”

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New USC Health Center

More than just a doctor's office

The four-story, 68,000-square-foot building under construction at the heart of campus over the past two years finally is done.

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Quackenbush Architects + Planners Announces Three Newly Licensed Architects

COLUMBIA, SC – May 22, 2017 – Quackenbush Architects + Planners is pleased to announce that three of its team members—Wendy Michelle Bertani AIA, LEED AP, Kyle Fant AIA, and Spencer Hutchinson AIA—passed the Architectural Registration Examination and are now licensed architects in the state.

Bertani joined Quackenbush Architects + Planners in 2012. Her work has focused on higher education projects, including the new freshman housing development for Coastal Carolina University. This summer she completes an $11 million design and construction project creating a new library at Midlands Technical College at the Beltline Campus in Columbia. The three-story, 43,000-square-foot building was designed as the new heart of campus, a centralized location for students to learn, study and collaborate. The library facility incorporates a learning commons, variously sized study rooms, an Academic Success Center, new Life Skills Center and multiple outdoor spaces that expand the learning environment. The library is the first building on the Beltline Campus designed to achieve LEED Silver Certification.

Fant joined the firm in 2013. His recent work ranges from labs to athletic facilities in both K-12 and higher education projects. Current examples include the University of South Carolina Student Health Center, Central Carolina Technical College Science Labs, Chapin Middle School, and Sunset Park Elementary School Renovation, among others.

Hutchinson first joined the firm as a summer intern in 2016. After completing graduate school, he returned to Quackenbush in 2017 and has worked on a range of projects, including several athletics facilities for collegiate and K12 clients. He is currently working on the $50 million Football Operations Facility for the University of South Carolina, which is now in the early construction phase. Having completed the majority of the experience hours required for licensure while working between undergrad and grad school, Hutchinson was able to complete the registration exams over a 6-month period, narrowly reaching a personal goal to achieve licensure by age 27.

Bertani and Hutchinson are graduates of the Clemson University Master of Architecture program. Fant holds a Master of Architecture from Washington University in St. Louis. Bertani received a Bachelor of Arts in Architectural Studies from the University of Illinois at Chicago and Fant and Hutchinson have a Bachelor of Arts in Architecture from Clemson University.

Registration as an architect is an intense process requiring the candidate to pass a series of Architectural Registration Exams and complete the Intern Development Program, a work experience regimen aimed at developing competence in programming, site and environmental analysis, construction documents, specifications and materials research, and project management. 

The three architects say their new status signifies an architect’s ability to design and practice at a high level for clients and community. “It helps show my dedication to being a professional,” says Fant. “The care with which you build your capabilities means you care enough to bring that to your work. The recognition allows me to take a more leadership role on a project to project basis.”

“We’re given a lot of responsibility here at Quackenbush,” Bertani says, “and that played a key part of me being able to apply my experience in the profession to the exam.” Hutchinson notes that licensure opens up opportunities to take on more responsibilities and certifies a high level of competence. “The firm is very supportive of helping young professional architects do what they can to help with that process,” he adds.

“Wendy, Kyle and Spencer are talented architects and I’m very proud of their accomplishments,” says Quackenbush Architects + Planners President Doug Quackenbush.

“Seeking licensure is a significant challenge,” he says. “Passing the exams and obtaining the necessary intern hours demonstrates the high standards by which Wendy, Kyle and Spencer practice, as well as the emphasis our firm places on continuing education and professional development.”

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Quackenbush Architects + Planners Wins AIA SC Honor Award

Quackenbush Architects + Planners is pleased to announce that the firm has won a prestigious American Institute of Architects (AIA) award for its Russell House Leadership and Service Center project at the University of South Carolina.

The AIA South Carolina Honor award was presented to the Q+ team at the AIA South Carolina Awards Banquet on April 17, 2017, at the Hyatt Place Hotel in Charleston, S.C. 

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Q+ Architects Welcomes Interior Designer

COLUMBIA, SC – March 20, 2017 – Quackenbush Architects + Planners is pleased to welcome Lydia Ureda, IIDA, NCIDQ, to the firm as interior designer.

A native of Spartanburg, Ureda comes to Quackenbush after having completed design projects in the areas of new construction, commercial and residential remodeling, and commercial furniture installation. Ureda has also managed a number of projects that involved collaboration with architects on furniture and interior finish selections including flooring and surfacing products.

From 2011 to 2014 Ureda worked as a designer in the Facilities Design and Construction department at the University of South Carolina. She was involved with projects all over the campus, most notably for USC Athletics, the College of Arts and Sciences, and the College of Nursing.

A native of Spartanburg, Ureda comes to Quackenbush after having completed design projects in the areas of new construction, commercial and residential remodeling, and commercial furniture installation. Ureda has also managed a number of projects that involved collaboration with architects on furniture and interior finish selections including flooring and surfacing products.

From 2011 to 2014 Ureda worked as a designer in the Facilities Design and Construction department at the University of South Carolina. She was involved with projects all over the campus, most notably for USC Athletics, the College of Arts and Sciences, and the College of Nursing.

A member of the International Interior Design Association (IIDA) and a licensed interior designer, Ureda has served on the board of the IIDA Carolinas chapter, which has more than 500 designer members. From 2012-2013, she served as City Center Director, planning local monthly events as well as chapter-wide events, including DesignWorks, the region’s largest interior design competition. In 2011, she served as Education Forum Director, and was responsible for organizing the keynote speakers for the programs’ major presentations in Greensboro, Greenville (SC), and Charleston.

At Q+, Ureda will focus on higher education projects, including the Lander University Grier Student Center Renovation, Presbyterian College Richardson Hall Renovations, and the University of South Carolina Football Operations Center, a 105,000-square foot, $50 million project set to begin construction this summer.

Ureda holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Interior Design from Harrington College of Design in Chicago, and is credentialed by the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ), the industry’s highest standard of excellence in the practice of interior design. NCIDQ represents a designer’s knowledge and proficiency in the latest interior design principles and practices as well as competency with contract documents, administration and decision-making skills.

“Lydia’s experience in higher education is particularly valuable as our Q+ team continues our practice in that arena,” says firm President Doug Quackenbush. “Her drive to design creative and innovative interiors augments our firm’s focus to deliver high quality and high performing solutions to our clients.”  

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USC Moves Ahead with Football Operations Center

South Carolina is in the process of building a new $50 million Football Operations Center as part of the Expanding Our Vision Capital Initiative. The state-of-the-art facility will give the coaches and student-athletes the ability to train and compete at the highest level.

"The Football Operations Center puts us at the forefront of facilities in college football," said South Carolina Head Football Coach Will Muschamp. "We are currently in the bottom half of the SEC in terms of football facilities. The Football Operations Center shows a commitment from the University to future student-athletes, as well as the student-athletes we currently have on campus."

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Q+ Architects Welcomes Intern Architect

Quackenbush Architects + Planners welcomes Jueminsi Wu, Associate AIA, to the firm as intern architect.

Wu, a native of Wuhan, China, is a recent graduate of the Clemson University Master of Landscape Architecture program. She completed her Bachelor of Architecture at the Suzhou University of Science and Technology in Suzhou, China.

Quackenbush Architects + Planners welcomes Jueminsi Wu, Associate AIA, to the firm as intern architect.

Wu, a native of Wuhan, China, is a recent graduate of the Clemson University Master of Landscape Architecture program. She completed her Bachelor of Architecture at the Suzhou University of Science and Technology in Suzhou, China.

Prior to her graduate program, Wu worked as an assistant designer and intern architect at the Wuhan, Hubei, China, firm of Central-South Architectural Design Institute Company, Ltd., where she focused on land planning, conceptual design, construction drawing, and remodeling and rendering. She prepared graphic representations of plans using computer-aided design and drafting software.

Wu won a number of awards while a student, including the American Society of Landscape Architects Merit Award from the Clemson Department of Landscape Architecture, and merit and student leadership awards during her undergraduate study.

While completing her master’s, Wu worked on a student team to advise a local neighborhood on re-imagining the community park to include a waterfront design and greenways. Her master’s thesis also used these concepts by focusing on ways to develop connections between urban environments and landscape.

Wu says she has always been fascinated with how to make architecture blend in more with nature. “Where I grew up, there is a massive change in how the whole city is growing—and the city is growing rapidly,” she says. “But there have to be solutions to make this growth more sensitive to the surrounding natural elements and local culture.”

In her position at Q+, Wu will work with her colleagues on the renovation of Richardson Science Hall at Presbyterian College, a 240-acre campus in Clinton, SC.

“We’re excited to have Jueminsi and her talents here at Q+ ,” President Doug Quackenbush says. “Her abilities in landscape design add value to what our full-service firm is focused on—bringing innovative design and regional understanding to our clients and community.”

Quackenbush Architects + Planners

Quackenbush Architects + Planners is a full-service architecture and planning firm located in Columbia, SC. The firm specializes in educational, institutional, civic, and commercial projects. Its services span from building design to land planning to interior design. The firm’s portfolio includes projects for universities, cities, colleges, government agencies, school districts, and private clients. The team’s work reflects commitment to innovation, sensitivity to our regional context, and the richness that comes from collaboration with our clients and the community

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Q+ Welcomes Marketing Coordinator to Team

COLUMBIA, SC – Quackenbush Architects + Planners is pleased to welcome Brandon Brazell to the firm as a Marketing Graphic Designer.

Brazell graduated in May 2016 from the University of South Carolina with a Bachelor’s degree in Studio Art with a focus on Graphic Design. During his time at the university, he worked as a student designer in the Creative Services department, where he designed and illustrated business advertising and campaigns for The Daily Gamecock newspaper and the studentGarnet and Black magazine, as well as for other non-USC organizations and businesses.




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Q+ Welcomes Associate Architect to Team

COLUMBIA, SC – July 15, 2016 –Quackenbush Architects + Planners is pleased to welcome Spencer Hutchinson, Associate AIA, to the firm as intern architect.

 A recent graduate of the Clemson University Master of Architecture program, Hutchinson previously worked with Quackenbush in 2015 as a summer intern on several projects, including a feasibility study for the University of South Carolina Football Operations Building.

In his new position at Q+, Hutchinson will again join the team working on the Football Operations project, which is now being designed.

The more than 100,000-square-foot facility will house football offices, meeting rooms, a weight room, training room, and a locker and equipment room. Physical therapy and nutrition areas will allow players to prepare physically and mentally.

“These facilities will allow student athletes to perform at the highest level,” says Hutchinson, who also holds a Bachelor of Arts in Architecture from Clemson University.

Prior to returning to grad school, Hutchinson worked with Columbia firm Watson Tate Savory on the University of South Carolina’s Indoor Football Practice Facility, which sits adjacent to the future site of the Football Operations Building. 

While completing his master’s, Hutchinson assisted teaching in the undergraduate program. “Architectural education is a really valuable way of learning how to think, be creative and solve problems,” he says.

A native of Columbia, Hutchinson finds working with such a well-respected firm in his hometown an opportunity he would not be able to find anywhere else.

“It’s rewarding for me to be part of this city’s growth,” he says, “and to know I’m contributing to making the city I grew up in a better place to live.”

“Spencer’s commitment reflects the kind of enthusiasm and innovative spirit that complements our team,” President Doug Quackenbush says. “His knowledge of Columbia as a long-time member of the community is particularly valuable as we grow our practice.”

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Q+ Welcomes Milne as Interior Designer

COLUMBIA, SC – Quackenbush Architects + Planners is pleased to welcome Brenna Milne, IIDA, NCIDQ, LEED AP, to the firm as interior designer.

Named by the Orlando Business Journal as among the “Next Generation of Design,” Milne has 10 years of experience managing a variety of educational and corporate projects. Most recently, she was a senior interior designer and project manager at HKS Architects, Inc., in Orlando, FL, where she assisted in creating a live-learn community environment in a 244,000-square-foot student housing facility at Florida International University. The design, which houses 620 students, includes a variety of multi-functional common areas, including academic support, retail, food service, recreational facilities and a parking garage. The building earned a LEED Silver Certification and received the Orlando American Institute of Architects Design Excellence Award for outstanding architectural achievement.

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Robyn Fisher selected for Leadership Columbia 2015-2016 Class, Named Midlands Director for SC American Institute of Architects

COLUMBIA, SC – Robyn Fisher, architect at Quackenbush Architects + Planners, was recently selected to join Leadership Columbia Class of 2016.

Fisher is one of 59 emerging and existing leaders from a cross-section of institutions, including business, government and nonprofit organizations, chosen to participate in this highly selective program. An initiative of the Columbia Chamber, Leadership Columbia focuses on regional issues, deepening leadership skills, and building relationships among individuals committed to their community.

Leadership Columbia chooses applicants based on interviews and criteria involving civic involvement, leadership potential, and diverse perspectives and commitment to their community. Participants will engage in a 10-month curriculum involving monthly class sessions, a retreat, and a class project focused on improving the community, among other activities. Fisher will be in Leadership Columbia’s 43rd graduating class.

“I think a lot of creativity can come out of this kind of collaboration,” Fisher says. “We’re fortunate at Quackenbush to collaborate every day with our clients, but this endeavor will enable me to work with a wide range of individuals outside of that experience. That’s exciting.”

Fisher also was recently named Midlands Director of the South Carolina chapter of the American Institute of Architects. While she will maintain her position as president of the local Greater Columbia chapter, she says her new position will allow her to serve as a liaison between the local and state level organizations. “My hope is that I’ll be able to help increase communications between both groups,” she says.

“We’re proud of Robyn’s leadership and her continued desire to make a lasting impact on our community,” says Doug Quackenbush, President of Quackenbush Architects + Planners. “Leadership Columbia is a phenomenal effort to bring diverse regional leaders together to address regional concerns,” he says. “Robyn’s talents in managing projects and her abilities as an emerging leader make her a tremendous asset to her Columbia Leadership class.”

Fisher is a graduate of North Carolina State University, where she received her Master of Architecture; she received a Bachelor of Arts in Architecture from Clemson University.

Most recently Fisher completed work on Myrtle Beach Primary School for Horry County Schools, as well as the Lexington County Baseball Stadium, the new home of the Lexington County Blowfish (formerly the Columbia Blowfish). She is currently working on the team for the new Student Health Center at the University of South Carolina.

She is licensed as an architect in South Carolina and is a LEED Green Associate.

Read more of the story here.

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Construction to Instruction: Finishing Touches Added to New Chapin Middle School


Middle school students in Lexington-Richland School District Five will embark on a new year Wednesday at a brand-new campus designed to launch them into a successful high school career. The school’s outside is not quite finished, but Chapin Middle teachers say it’s the inside — the people and the instruction — that counts.

Teachers and construction workers stayed late into the evening Monday to ensure each classroom and instructional area was ready for students’ return Wednesday. Laborers painted, installed furniture and prepped the courtyards to become outdoor learning spaces as teachers hung posters and arranged desks.

Principal Anna Miller said she was “involved from the ground up” during the design process for the school on Broad River Road.

“It’s been a beautiful whirlwind,” she said.

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Quackenbush Presents at International Conference

COLUMBIA, SC – Doug Quackenbush, President of Quackenbush Architects + Planners, presented at the Association of College and University Housing Officers – International (ACUHO-I) Conference in Orlando, Florida on June 30th . Doug participated on a panel that included the Director of Housing at Coastal Carolina University Stephen Harrison, and representatives from Mackey Mitchell Architects- Merrilee Hertlein and Kyle Wagner.

The ACUHO-I has more than 1,000 member campuses, as well as more than 250 product and service providers, all dedicated to creating educational and enriching residential experiences on campuses around the world. ACUHO-I empowers these efforts through informative events and programs, invaluable resources, and an invigorating professional network.

The presentation, entitled “Coastal Connections: Relationships between People and Place at Coastal Carolina University,” was based on the project team’s experience planning and designing a new student housing neighborhood for 1,270 students.  The primary focus was on three learning outcomes: how to physical and socially connect a site on the fringe of campus; how to involve stakeholders in the design process and strengthen departmental relationships; and how to introduce concepts for branding the residences which galvanize relationships between the students, the campus and the region.  Participants were able to ask questions via Twitter and the hashtag #CCUConnect throughout the presentation.

Phases I and II of the new student residence halls are currently under construction with two of the buildings set to open this fall for students.  Four residence halls will house 1,270 students in communities ranging from 36 to 40 beds per resident assistant. Each RA community includes four “community suites” grouped around a common social space. In addition, each building has its own community wing with a large lounge, laundry, multi-purpose room, RD office and apartment, workrooms, and recycling center. The main community building (the “head house”) will include several additional community assets, including multi-purpose rooms, large conference room, Residential Life office suite, RHA workroom, convenience store, kitchen, and two additional staff apartments. The exterior character of the design will feature the traditional southern classical language on campus, comprised of masonry veneer, white trim accents, insulated glazing, and roof shingles- all chosen with consideration towards sustainability. Site amenities such as a new pavilion and recreational areas are also planned for the community.

Read more about the project here.  See construction progress on the new student housing here.

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Quackenbush Shares Student Union Design Expertise

COLUMBIA, SC – Doug Quackenbush, President of Quackenbush Architects + Planners, contributed to the recent 2015 SEC Union Directors Summer Meeting through a panel discussion entitled “Why the College Union (still) Matters”. The discussion explored the evolving role of the college union on university campuses. 

The panel comprised of six participants representing a variety of perspectives on the modern university campus.  Quackenbush offered his insight and expertise on the panel via the recently completed USC Russell House Leadership and Service Center alongside Kim McMahon, Director of Campus Life at the University of South Carolina.

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Midlands Technical College Constructing New Learning Resource Center on Beltline Campus

COLUMBIA, SC – Midlands Technical College has begun construction of the Learning Resource Center on its Beltline Campus. This three-story building will become the focal point of the campus along Rosewood Drive.  The center will feature technology-rich classrooms and computer labs equipped for teleconferencing, an Academic Success Center with onsite tutoring, individual study rooms and a student commons area.  Construction will take approximately two years.

“This new facility will be the signature academic building of the college’s Beltline Campus,” said MTC President, Dr. Ronald L. Rhames.  “It’s another example of how MTC encourages dynamic teaching and learning in a state-of-the-art environment.  Everything we do is geared toward being an innovative leader in higher education.”

The center will unite various campus functions to become a one-stop shop for students and faculty while still offering traditional quiet study space, group study, more than 100 computer stations, faculty offices, and the Academic Success Center.

The ground floor will feature technology-rich classrooms and computer labs. The second level will contain the main entrance and lobby that opens to a new “quad” green space at the campus center.  The third level will feature study rooms in a variety of sizes, as well as the Academic Success Center.

The project is designed to achieve LEED Silver certification, the first on the Beltline Campus.

Read the original story here.  Read more about the project here.  See construction progress on the new library here.

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Blowfish ready for new season in new stadium


This year, summer nights in Lexington County will include live music, fireworks, prizes, cold beer for the grown-ups and space for kids to play – all delivered within the space of nine innings of baseball.

When the new Lexington County Baseball Stadium opens on Ballpark Road in Lexington County on Wednesday, May 27, every Lexington County Blowfish home game will include theme nights, giveaways, entertainment and interaction with the players. Each game will also feature a local nonprofit with representatives on hand to share information about the work they do. The nonprofits can also sell game tickets to supporters and keep some of the proceeds.

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Eastminster Presbyterian Church Renovation Awarded by Historic Columbia Foundation

COLUMBIA, SC – The Eastminster Presbyterian Church was honored with an award for Preservation/Restoration by the Preservation Awards Committee of the Historic Columbia Foundation. Mashburn Construction worked with Quackenbush Architects + Planners to complete the 30,000 square foot historic renovation. Together Mashburn and Quackenbush carefully updated the church while respecting and preserving the already existing architectural character.

The project included extensive sanctuary improvements, the addition of an elevator, as well as an exterior covered entry and porte-cochere. The strategic placement of the new elevator provides easy accessibility to all levels of the original structure and to an outdoor connector that links that rest of the campus. The dilapidated basement was transformed into a fully functional new choir room, while all stained glass and wooden pews were taken off site for refurbishment and then mindfully reinstalled by Mashburn.

Read the original story here.

Read more about the project here.

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Healthier Gamecocks a long-held goal of new USC student health center


When ground is broken, probably in July, on a new, $27.5 million student health center at the University of South Carolina, it will be a big step toward a long-held university goal: healthier Gamecocks.

The four-story, 65,000-square-foot building is going up in the historic center of the burgeoning Columbia campus next to the Thomson Health Center behind the Russell House Theater and adjacent to the Thomas Cooper Library.

Right now, the Thomson center houses a pretty significant array of medical services for USC’s 30,000-student population, from general medicine and women’s care, to sports medicine, lab, X-ray, pharmacy and physical therapy.

The 36,000-square-foot facility the school has been using as its health center since 1972 – initially it was an infirmary – limits the university’s ability to expand services or add new ones, said Deborah Beck, USC student services executive director.

When the new health center opens as planned for the spring semester of 2017, all campus health services will be housed in the same general location inside the two buildings, which will be connected by a tunnel, Beck said.

The facility will be paid for with $13 million in bonds with the balance coming from student health center reserves, said USC spokesman Wes Hickman.

“This building is going to be a symbol that we are all Healthy Carolina,” Beck said, referring to the campus initiative 10 years ago designed to change the university’s policies and campus culture to reflect the importance of health and wellness.

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CCU Lib Jackson Student Center Dedication

CONWAY, SC – February 27 – Quackenbush Architects + Planners joined Coastal Carolina University Friday afternoon to celebrate the dedication of the renovation and expansion of the Lib Jackson Student Union.

The 40,000sf facility, which houses numerous student, administrative, and recreation functions, opened its doors earlier this year. Additional lounge, study, and food service amenities are provided to accommodate CCU's growing student population.  A 250-seat theatre has been used to host orientation sessions, large meetings, and showings of popular movies.

Student government president Eliana Padron joined CCU President David DeCenzo, Debbie Conner, Whitney Comer, Wyatt Henderson, and Delan Stevens for the ceremonial ribbon cutting.

Read more about the project here.  Read more about the ceremony here.  See the YouTube video here.

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Q+ Staff Members Named to AIA Greater Columbia Executive Committee

COLUMBIA, SC – The Greater Columbia Section of the American Institute of Architects has announced the election of its Board of Directors for the 2015 term. Two members of the Q+ staff, Robyn Fisher and Wendy Bertani, were among those honored as Board Members. Fisher will serve as President, and Bertani will serve as Vice-President/President Elect for the 2015 term.

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Q+ Staff Members Named to AIA Greater Columbia Executive Committee

Robyn Fisher (left) and Wendy Bertani have been named to the AIA Greater Columbia Executive Committee

Blowfish Formalize Move to Lexington County


Blowfish Formalize Move to Lexington County

"Wildcat Hollow" Site of New Collegiate Baseball Stadium

COLUMBIA, S.C. (July 28, 2014) - Shanahan & Company Sports Management LLC, parent company of the Blowfish, announced today that it has reached an agreement with the Lexington County Recreation & Aging Commission to market and manage a new collegiate baseball stadium in Lexington County.

"We are excited to partner with Bill Shanahan who brings 30 years of sports ownership, management, marketing and sales experience to the table." said Lexington County Recreation Aging Commission Executive Director, Randy Gibson. "Lexington County is continuously developing ways to improve our community through sports and recreation, and this is another giant step in achieving that goal."

In corresponding news, the Blowfish baseball franchise has signed a stadium lease to play their future home games at the new ballpark in Lexington County at the conclusion of the 2014 Coastal Plain League season.

"Lexington County Baseball Stadium" will be located off of Highway 1, at the site of the old Lexington High School football field on Ball Park Road across the street from the Lexington Dixie Youth Sports Complex, (home of the 2014/2015 Dixie Youth World Series).

"This is a significant day in the history of baseball in the Midlands," Blowfish Owner, Bill Shanahan said. "We are grateful to Lexington County, who have been tirelessly working with us to bring these plans to fruition. The community of Lexington County is beautiful, it's growing and it's a baseball hotbed. We are thrilled to have the opportunity to be a part of it."

The estimated cost of the stadium is $3 million which is part of a $23 million bond for improvements in sports facilities across Lexington County. The design for the new stadium was created by  Quackenbush Architects and Planners.

The new stadium's capacity for baseball is 3,000 and will provide fans with a more pleasant and intimate ballpark experience. It will include an expanded concourse, bowl seating for a more intimate field view, Wrigley Field style box seats, a rightfield berm, leftfield lawn seating and an enclosed air conditioned hospitality club. In addition to hosting the Blowfish baseball team, the state-of-the-art complex will be available for other uses including, collegiate and high school baseball championships, baseball camps, tournaments, concerts and other local events making the grounds a hub for entertainment, not just in Lexington County but in the Midlands.

"It's bittersweet," said Blowfish General Manager, Kelly Evans. "It's hard to leave a place like Capital City Stadium and all of our amazing fans that are located in downtown. This stadium will always have a special place in our hearts. We want to thank the City of Columbia for all that they have done for us as an organization over the years. We are excited to now call Lexington County home, and to leave our mark on a new community."

Construction on the new stadium is scheduled to start this fall, and is expected to be completed before the 2015 season.  The last regular season home game at Capital City Stadium is scheduled for Thursday, July 31 at 7:05PM. For ticket information please visit www.blowfishbaseball.com or call (803) 254-FISH.

Read more herehere, here, and here.

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Janie Kronk Gossett Achieves Licensure, GGP Certification

COLUMBIA, SC – Quackenbush Architects + Planners announced that Janie Kronk Gossett, AIA LEED AP BD+C GGP, recently earned her architectural license from the National Council of Architectural Registration Board (NCARB) and certification as a Green Globes ProfessionalTM from the Green Building Initiative (GBI). Gossett, an architect with particular interest in sustainable design, has been with Q+ since 2006.

“Janie’s NCARB registration and GGP certification speak volumes about her commitment to professional growth,” says Doug Quackenbush, President of Quackenbush Architects + Planners. “She continues to seek out new challenges and opportunities in her work, which reflect the core principles we value at Q+.”

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Q+ Welcomes New Architect

COLUMBIA, SC – June 30 – Quackenbush Architects + Planners is proud to welcome Robyn Fisher to the firm as Project Architect. 

“The entire team is energized and delighted to have Robyn join us,” says Doug Quackenbush, President of Quackenbush Architects + Planners. “Her experience and her passion for design excellence perfectly complements our focus on exceptional architecture for our community and our clients.”

Fisher received a Bachelor of Arts in Architecture from Clemson University and her Masters in Architecture from NC State.  During her time at Clemson, Fisher spent a semester at the Charles E. Daniel Center for Architecture and Urban Studies in Genoa, Italy. While in graduate school, Fisher participated in a study abroad program at the NC State Prague Institute in Prague, Czech Republic.

Fisher was a member of the renovation rehabilitation team that transformed the historic 144-year-old Brennen building on Main Street.  The preservation effort focused on creating a new concept of banking and social spaces, including a café and exterior courtyard, while maintaining the original French-Victorian facade.

Fisher’s other project experience includes a new 115,000-square-foot manufacturing facility in Sandy Run, SC, for Devro, Inc., and rehabilitation of the historic Adluh Flour building for commercial use in the Vista, Columbia’s urban arts and entertainment district.

Prior to joining Quackenbush Architects + Planners, Fisher worked with Studio 2LR in Columbia.

Fisher is a member of the American Institute of Architects and currently serves as Vice President/President Elect for the Greater Columbia chapter. She is licensed as an architect in South Carolina and is a LEED Green Associate.

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USC Softball Stadium Featured in "Athletic Business"

ATHLETIC BUSINESS - The University of South Carolina replaced its outdated softball stadium with a larger facility that accommodates 1,400 people — approximately double the previous facility’s seating capacity. An assortment of seating options range from enclosed rooms to traditional outdoor seats.

Once inside, fans are greeted with a panoramic view of the field before descending to their seats. With an excellent view of the field from all angles, visitors won’t miss the play on the field even when they are at the concessions stand, heading to the restrooms or hanging out in the stadium’s many places to socialize.

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LR5 New Middle School Groundbreaking

Administrators, board members and School Improvement Council members gathered Thursday in Chapin to break ground at the site of Lexington-Richland School District Five’s new middle school campus. While they dug into the earth with ceremonial shovels, construction crews continued to clear and level land for the new home of local students.

“We are excited about the minds that will be shaped here,” said Mark Bounds, district chief information officer.

The yet-to-be-named school is the last one scheduled to be built with proceeds from the 2008 bond referendum and will be next to Spring Hill High School and Center for Advanced Technical Studies on Broad River Road.

“This wouldn’t be possible without the support of our community,” said Superintendent Stephen Hefner. “It’s a great milestone in District Five history.”

The school will serve seventh and eighth grade on campus next door to Spring Hill High. (photo by Rachel Ham)

The campus will house only seventh-graders and eighth-graders and will alleviate overcrowding at Chapin Elementary, Lake Murray Elementary and Chapin Middle schools. Board Chairman Beth Watson said the new school was planned so the district can continue providing quality education.

“We understand smaller class sizes are a major key,” she said.

Representatives from Quackenbush Architects, including Doug Quackenbush, Marc Warren, Kyle Fant and Kate Lanni, were also on site Thursday to see how their vision is progressing. Quackenbush said the team began working on the school’s design in early 2013 and collaborated with the district for about a year.

Construction is scheduled to wrap up in time for the school to welcome students in the fall of 2015.

Read the original article here, learn more about the groundbreaking here and here, and see construction photos here.

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