FMU begins construction: Office Services building to be completed by summer 2013


n front of the Stanton Academic Computer Center, the new Office Services building will house all of Francis Marion University’s printing and mailing services. This building will provide more space that is specifically designed for a print and mailing shop.

Melissa Rollins, Staff Writer

Students walking by the Stanton Academic Computer Center (ACC) may have noticed a change in the landscape. Preparations have already started and, in the next few months, construction will begin on a new Office Services building.

The Office Services building houses all printing and mail services for the university. Although the location will be new, the building that will be put in front of the ACC will be replacing one currently on campus. According to John Kispert, Vice President for Business Affairs, the university has known for a while that this new construction was needed.

“Everyone knew that the building needed replaced,” Kispert said. “It was really was a case of having the money. We’ve of course had the big projects: the performing arts center, the athletic complex and renovating the dining hall. Now was a good time from a funding stand point.”

The grey Office Services buildings, sometimes referred to as the “grey pods,” are located next to the Stokes Administration Building and have been on the grounds since before Francis Marion College (FMC) was founded. It was built in 1961 and was part of the property when it was owned by University of South Carolina’s Florence campus. The building was transferred over to FMC (later FMU) after it took ownership. Besides the Wallace House and the front side of the Stokes Administration Building, it is the oldest building on the grounds.

Over the years the grey building has taken on many different duties. It has served as a student lounge, a classroom area,administration offices and, most recently, the home for Office Services.

Darryl Bridges, Vice President of Public and Community Affairs, said that with all of the services housed in it, and the size of the equipment used, the old building was too small and cramped.

“[The new building] will provide a more efficient space for the services we have,” Bridges said. “The current building was not designed for Office Services.”

The new building will be around 3,600 square feet, providing adequate space for work to be completed and leaving extra room for equipment to be properly maintained without being an inconvenience.It will house staff offices, a loading area for mail and equipment deliveries as well as public restrooms. There is also a possibility that vending machines will be put around the new building.

Kispertsaid that the university thought it was important to look for a new location that would be easily accessible to those who use it.

“We looked at a number of sites on campus,” Kispert said. “Dr. Carter was interested in it being centrally located to administrative and academic functions. Students don’t necessary use it very much but faculty uses it quite a bit.”

Kispert and Bridges both mentioned the university’s awareness of preserving green space on campus for the students to enjoy. Kispert said that there is a possibility that picnic tables will be set up on the lawn around the new building under a large oak tree whichthey are taking care not to disturb. Bridges said that once the old building is torn down a new green space will take its place,adding to the garden area near The Cottage. The projected completion date is summer 2013.