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Filtering by Tag: Charleston

College of Charleston set to embark on a $50M renovation of major campus building

Mez Joseph

The College of Charleston’s Albert Simons Center for the Arts will undergo extensive renovations beginning in the spring of 2020. Brad Nettles/Staff - Brad Nettles bnettles@postandcourier.com

By Adam Parker aparker@postandcourier.com
The Post & Courier
Aug 18, 2019

The College of Charleston’s Albert Simons Center, home to the School of the Arts, will undergo a $50 million makeover next year.

What will the final product look like? No one knows. 

The team at Liollio Architecture has been reconceiving the interior of the 80,000-square-foot Simons Center for a few years now, but no clear exterior designs have been produced yet “because there’s no agreement on what outside should look like,” said Valerie Morris, dean of the School of the Arts.

A few broad concepts are clear: The building needs a better main entrance and lobby; it needs to complement the adjacent Marion and Wayland H. Cato Jr. Center for the Arts, which opened in 2010; and it needs to fit into the campus aesthetic.

Incoming freshmen at the College of Charleston visit the Albert Simons Center for the Arts on Monday, August 12, 2019. The building, located on St. Philips Street, soon will be getting a makeover. Brad Nettles/Staff - Brad Nettles bnettles@postandcourier.com

The modern red brick building on St. Philips Street sits at the end of a campus thoroughfare and is highly visible. The new design should acknowledge the need to create a welcoming front door and public space, and to connect with adjacent buildings, said Liollio lead architect Jennifer Charzewski.

“We want a design that celebrates the creativity of the arts,” she said.

When the College of Charleston’s Albert Simons Center was built 40 years ago, around 800 students made use of the building. Today, that number is more like 5,000.

The availability of the building’s performance venues helped convince Gian Carlo Menotti in the mid-1970s to locate Spoleto Festival USA in Charleston. As a result, the Simons Center quickly became “one of the primary places the public interacts with the college,” Charzewski said.

The building’s renovation has been a long time in the making. 

In 1994, the college introduced plans to upgrade the School of the Arts facilities and engaged architect Robert Stern to oversee the effort.

He conceived a neoclassical structure to match Randolph Hall across the street, but the Board of Architectural Review wanted something more modern, recalled Morris, the school’s dean. Then, residents of the neighborhood and others insisted on Stern’s approach. In the end, the college engaged Stevens & Wilkinson, which operated out of Columbia, to complete the $27 million project.

By then costs had gone up, so officials divided the School of the Arts renovation effort into two projects. The Simons Center would have to wait for the completion of another big renovation project: the $80 million Rita Liddy Hollings Science Center and Physicians Auditorium.

But all’s well that ends well, Morris said. The Joint Bond Review Committee late last month approved the plan to finance the renovation project with $45 million in proceeds from the issuance of academic and Administrative Facilities bonds. Another $5 million will come from nonrecurring state appropriations, revenues from college fees and, mostly, capital project institutional funds.

A woman makes her way down the second floor hallway of the College of Charleston’s Albert Simons Center for the Arts on Monday, August 12, 2019. Brad Nettles/Staff - Brad Nettles bnettles@postandcourier.com

Student fees and tuition are not expected to go up because of the project, according to the college, although the Capital Improvement Fee, which is derived from a portion of tuition, has been increased three times in the last five years, from $781 per student per semester to $878 per student per semester.

Morris said she expects to move out of the Simons Center next summer and use the Harbor Walk buildings near the S.C. Aquarium for administrative offices, classrooms and more. The Chapel Theatre on Calhoun Street, Sottile Theatre on George Street and local church sanctuaries will provide performance space while the three Simons Center venues are shut down.

(Meanwhile, the Sottile Theatre is also undergoing renovation. It closed in February for $4.7 million in stage upgrades, and is slated to reopen in time for the 2020 Spoleto Festival.)

The revised interior of the Simons Center will include a new black box theater, state-of-the-art classrooms and upgraded infrastructure components such as bathrooms, HVAC and power stations. Heating and cooling problems will be resolved, along with the mold issue, Morris said.

Charzewski said the project also will upgrade mechanical and electrical systems while incorporating sustainable energy and flood protection. 

The renovation, she said, will change the face of the St. Philip Street corridor. Liollio is partnering on the renovation with Minneapolis-based HGA Architects, which specializes in arts, education and civic projects.

The courtyard at the College of Charleston’s Albert Simons Center for the Arts fronts St. Philip Street and likely will be transformed by the upcoming renovation project led by Liollio Architects. Brad Nettles/Staff - Brad Nettles bnettles@postandcourier.com

Rodney Lee Rogers, an adjunct theater professor, said the new black box theater — a small, square performance space — will provide welcomed flexibility. The smaller, malleable venue will enable students to rehearse more easily, to experiment and to stage their own plays, Rogers said. 

“I think a black box for training is the most versatile kind of set-up you can have,” he said. “You can do a lot of things quickly ... and it’s more about performance.”

It’s great to have the Sottile Theatre and access to other big stages in town, but that’s not what students need most, Rogers said.

“For most actors, they’re going to be cutting their teeth in more adaptive smaller spaces, because they’re not going to get into the bigger spaces for a while.”

Currently, the Simons Center is about 80,000 square feet, Charzewski said. The project team will renovate 65,000 square feet, rebuild 15,000 square feet and add 10,000 square feet.

The third and final state-level review conducted by the State Fiscal and Accountability Authority on Aug. 13 was the last hurdle cleared, she said. The city’s Board of Architectural Review will have a chance to scrutinize the plans.

The work likely will begin in the summer of 2020 with the temporary relocation of the art school, followed by a groundbreaking in the fall of 2020, according to Paul Patrick, chief of staff to the president. School officials hope the project will be finished in time for the 2022-23 academic year.

Meanwhile, the College of Charleston will consider other pressing capital projects, President Andrew Hsu said. A campus that’s 250 years old needs constant attention, he noted.

Louis Waring, Jr. Senior Center Grand Opening & Ribbon Cutting

Mez Joseph

Don't miss the Louis Waring, Jr. Senior Center Grand Opening & Ribbon Cutting Ceremony on March 5. Mayor John J. Tecklenburg, City Council of Charleston and Roper St. Francis Healthcare invite you to attend the Grand Opening and Ribbon Cutting Ceremony for the Louis Waring, Jr. Senior Center on Tuesday, March 5, 2019, 12:30 p.m. at 2001 Henry Tecklenburg Drive, Charleston SC. Tours of the facility and open house activities will follow the ribbon cutting. For more info visit here.

AIA Charleston Building Tour of Louis Waring, Jr. Senior Center

Mez Joseph

Liollio's Michael Edwards, Associate and Health & Wellness Leader, led an AIA Charleston building tour of the Louis Waring, Jr. Senior Center recently. As a follow-up to his tour of the Center in the Fall of 2017, attendees were given an insider’s look at project progress, lessons learned and finish installation as the project nears completion this Fall. The Senior Center is a City of Charleston project in partnership with Roper St. Francis Healthcare constructed on the campus of the Bon Secours St. Francis Hospital in West Ashley. The new 16,000 SF center is nestled in the woods, providing active adults a community retreat from their daily lives to an oasis engaged in nature. 

CITY OF CHARLESTON FIRE STATION 11 GROUNDBREAKING CEREMONY FRIDAY

Mez Joseph

Groundbreaking Ceremony to be held at 1835 Savannah Highway on August 24, 2018 @11 AM.

Please join Mayor John Tecklenburg, Charleston Fire Chief Daniel Curia, members of City Council and other invited guests at a groundbreaking ceremony for Fire Station 11. Parking at the site is limited and attendees are encouraged to carpool. Spaces at the adjacent Charleston 9 Memorial Site (1807 Savannah Highway) will be reserved for dignitaries, members of the media and special guests. A limited number of spaces will be available to attendees off of Wappoo Road adjacent to the bike trail.

Michael Edwards & Elizabeth Bernat Lead Roundtable at 2018 NANASP/NCOA Conference

Mez Joseph

Liollio's Michael Edwards, Associate and Health & Wellness Leader, along with Elizabeth Bernat, Director of Senior Services at Roper Saint Francis Healthcare, led a series of roundtable discussions at the National Association of Nutrition and Aging Services Programs (NANASP) -  National Council on Aging (NCOA) 2018 Conference in Charleston this month. The roundtables focused on the design and community engagement process for the Louis Waring, Jr. Senior Center, a Public/Private partnership between the City of Charleston and Roper Saint Francis Healthcare, to open this Fall.

The NANSP/NCOA Conference is an annual conference hosted by the National Association of Nutrition and Aging Services Programs (NANSP) and the National Council on Aging (NCOA) National Institute of Senior Centers (NISC). The conference brings together leaders from senior center and aging organizations as well as officials from the SC Department of Aging and Disabilities, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the AARP Foundation.

Michael Edwards is the Liollio Project Manager of the Louis Waring, Jr. Senior Center located in West Ashley. Elizabeth Bernat is the Executive Director of the Lowcountry Senior Center and future Louis Waring, Jr. Senior Center. For more information about the Louis Waring, Jr. Senior Center, visit Liollio on ISSUU or view the Designing for Senior Community & Wellness Brochure.

Designing for Senior Community & Wellness: Louis Waring, Jr. Senior Center

Mez Joseph

This City of Charleston & Roper St. Francis Healthcare project is scheduled for completion in late 2018. The scope of this project was to design a new 16,000 SF health & wellness center to be constructed on the campus of the Bon Secours Saint Francis Hospital in West Ashley. The new center will be nestled in the woods, providing the community a retreat from their daily lives to an oasis engaged with nature. The facility will provide adults age 50+ the opportunity to exercise, socialize, and engage through a variety of activities and events focused on active lifestyles, well-being and growth. Meeting the vision of the community and its users has been key to this project. As one user stated, “We want a living center, not a nursing home. We have a lot more life to live. The building should reflect that.”

Click here or on image above to see our process.

Liollio Architecture Elevates Andy Clark, AIA, to Principal

Mez Joseph

Andy Clark, AIA, LEED AP, Principal

Andy Clark, AIA, LEED AP, Principal

It’s an honor to be part of a talented and dedicated team of design professionals that take pride in their work and make even the most challenging days fun and rewarding.
— Andy Clark, AIA, LEED AP, Principal

Liollio Architecture is pleased to announce the elevation of Andy Clark, AIA, LEED AP, to Principal. Liollio celebrates Andy’s accomplishments and is proud to have him as a firm leader!

Andy is passionate about design and the value it brings to our clients through successful collaborations. As part of Liollio's third generation of ownership, Andy leads the educational market and has a diverse portfolio spanning educational, municipal, commercial and healthcare. “It’s an honor to be part of a talented and dedicated team of design professionals that take pride in their work and make even the most challenging days fun and rewarding.” A graduate of Clemson University, with a Master of Architecture and Bachelor of Science in Design, Andy is currently serving as the State President of AIA South Carolina, where he organized the Community: by design Conference in conjunction with ArtFields in Lake City. He has served on the Clemson Architectural Foundation Board, volunteers as a student mentor, and is a Past President of AIA Charleston, where he co-founded a free public lecture series to elevate the design dialogue in our community.

Calling All Photographers!

Mez Joseph

“Give us Your Best Shot!" As we prepare for the grand opening of the new James Island Town Hall, the Town of James Island is launching a photo contest to help personalize this new community space. Up to a dozen photos will be selected and displayed at the new Town Hall. Images could be of landscapes, buildings, or vistas around James Island, past or present. Photos must be high quality digital images accompanied with a release to print for the public’s enjoyment. Please submit only one image per person to be considered.

Please submit your photos to Frances Simmons, Town Clerk, fsimmons@jamesislandsc.us by April 30, 2018. Winners will be recognized at the Grand Opening, coming early this summer.

Charleston Airport Lauded by Peers for Terminal Improvement Work

Mez Joseph

Liollio is proud to be part of the Fentress Architect design team for the award-winning Charleston International Airport Redevelopment.

Charleston International's peer airports across the Southeast recently lauded the gateway to the Lowcountry for outstanding architectural renovation following the $200 million terminal improvement project.

The Southeast Chapter of the American Association of Airport Executives presented the best Commercial Service Airport – Architectural Project award to Charleston during its conference in Knoxville in April. The group represents more than 550 members and 88 airports in the southeastern U.S.

“This award is a testament to the hundreds of people who worked on what is a total transformation of Charleston International Airport, from the architects and designers to the construction crews to the Aviation Authority staff that oversaw the day-to-day planning and progress,” said Paul Campbell, executive director and CEO of Charleston County Aviation Authority, which oversees the airport.

Read the full Post & Courier article here.

WARING SENIOR CENTER SLAB POUR

Mez Joseph

Drone footage of the New Waring Senior Center site as workers perform a slab pour in Area A. This City of Charleston project is slated for completion in early 2018. The site is located next to Roper St. Francis Hospital, and Liollio is working with Howell & Howell Contractors, Roper St. Francis and the City of Charleston to bring this project to fruition. Video footage provided by Howell & Howell Contractors.

WARING SENIOR CENTER SITE DRONE FOOTAGE

Mez Joseph

Great drone flyover footage of the New Waring Senior Center site and the surrounding area in West Ashley. This City of Charleston project is slated for completion in early 2018. The site is located next to Roper St. Francis Hospital, and Liollio is working with Howell & Howell Contractors, Roper St. Francis and the City of Charleston to bring this project to fruition. Video footage provided by Howell & Howell Contractors.

LIOLLIO ARCHITECTURE ELEVATES JENNIFER CHARZEWSKI, AIA, LEED AP, TO PRINCIPAL


Mez Joseph

Liollio is pleased to announce the elevation of Jennifer Charzewski, AIA, LEED AP, to Principal. As part of Liollio Architecture’s third generation of ownership, Jennifer promotes both the well-being of our design studio and the communities that we serve. Jennifer believes that architecture is about people, and designing places to gather, learn, work, and play is an opportunity to celebrate the pride and the story of a community. “ Liollio Architecture is a family, in every sense of the word, and the talent, enthusiasm, and commitment of our team makes our work a joy.”

A graduate of Texas A&M University and the University of Minnesota, Jennifer is a past President of AIA Charleston, a member of the AIA South Carolina Disaster Assistance Committee, a volunteer with ACE Mentors of Charleston and is currently working with an AIA South Carolina group to establish a committee for Equity in Architecture in South Carolina.

Jennifer has been part of the Liollio team for nine years and her design leadership spans from the award-winning St. Helena Library at Penn Center, Rock Hill’s Main Street Children’s Museum and Charleston International Airport to current projects including Richland Libraries, Charleston Fire Station #11 in West Ashley, James Island Town Hall, SCPRT State Welcome Centers, Children’s Museum of the Lowcountry and College of Charleston Simons Center for the Arts.

2017 ACE Mentors of Charleston SC: Project Manager Exercise at St. Johns High

Mez Joseph

ACE Mentors is a National Mentoring Program that mentors high school kids in (A) Architecture, (C)Construction and (E) Engineering. This is the Charleston SC Chapter. Liollio's Mary Tran, an ACE Charleston Mentor, participated in the event, giving students a better understanding of elevations. She can be seen in the video at 2:10. Liollio Principal Dinos Liollio, FAIA, will be the guest speaker on May 17th at this year's ACE Charleston Banquet. He will speak about his life experiences and journey.

Panelists Say Recession Created Pent-Up Demand For Projects

Mez Joseph

Principal Dinos Liollio joined panelists at the Charleston Regional Business Journal's Power Breakfast last Thursday. Panelists discussed how the Lowcountry seems to have recovered from the recession and is now seeing the effects of pent-up demand for capital projects.

From Charleston Regional Business Journal
By Liz Segrist

Photo: Kim McManus

Several years after the recession, construction is booming and cranes are looming over new developments throughout Charleston.

The demand for buildings in the multifamily, residential, commercial, higher education, health care and mixed-use segments remains high as the region’s population grows, according to several panelists at the Charleston Regional Business Journal’s Power Breakfast on Thursday in North Charleston.

“Charleston has been so blessed,” said Dinos Liollio, principal of Liollio Architecture.  “We have been greatly insulated — if not isolated to some extent — from the recession that the country as a whole has felt. ... I think what we’re seeing now is all of the pent-up demand that has been created over the last five to six years as a result of the down economy. We are seeing it in higher ed, particularly now that so many people can go forward with their capital campaigns.”

Janette Alexander, a design and construction project manager for Charleston County, said she believes Charleston is out of the recession, although she said the region did not reach the same depths of economic crisis as other cities.

“We were very, very busy pre-recession and it does feel like we’re back and beyond that,” said Alexander, also a member of Charleston’s Board of Architectural Review. “Beyond the dam bursting of pent-up work that needed to happen, it seems like there is a lot of optimism on where Charleston is going.”

Chappy McKay, development vice president and partner at Trident Construction in Charleston, said the Lowcountry is “somewhat in a sprint between cycles.”

Although he has seen a lot of need for new construction in the last two years, he said some segments are slowing down. A somewhat muffled economy is buoyed by the region’s manufacturing sector, tech industries and the region’s ability to attract new businesses and residents, McKay said.

Melissa Polutta, owner of Trash Gurl LLC, a waste management business, said Charleston’s ability to draw new industry, tourists and residents enabled many construction companies to get back on their feet post-recession.

Her company, which she co-founded with her husband, Jeff, in 2009, has expanded with new services and new projects, including work on Volvo Cars’ new automotive campus under construction in Berkeley County.

Phillip Ford, executive vice president of Charleston Home Builders Association, said permits are up and demand is strong for new housing and residential communities.

Ford said the region faces a major challenge regarding adequate infrastructure — such as more highway capacity and improved roads — to handle the growth.

Finding enough skilled workers to meet the region’s housing needs is another major hurdle for the homebuilding and construction industries.

“Our concern is can we keep up with demand? There is a lack of trained labor. We can’t find anyone to frame houses or plumb houses,” Ford said. “So you can sell houses, but if you can’t build them, that’s a problem. Selling them is not a problem. Building them is, at the moment.”

Visit the CRBJ article here.

FAM JAM 2016, A FREE Family Festival in Marion Square

Mez Joseph

FAM JAM 2016, a FREE family festival in Marion Square, is this Saturday, September 17 from 10am - 2pm!

Join the Children's Museum of the Lowcountry, in partnership with the Charleston Farmers Market, for a free day of play in Marion Square! The 12th annual FAM JAM will have live music, 30+ community partners, CML's own Imagination Playground, a climbing wall and more! Plus, all families who play at FAM JAM will receive free admission to the Children's Museum on the day of the event!

Why do we celebrate PLAY? Research shows that young children develop social, cognitive and motor skills through meaningful, supported PLAY and that, in fact, this is the best way for children to learn these skills. So bring your family out this Saturday , and don't miss this exciting event!