Gamecock Park, located on the former Farmer's Market site, opened for the 2012 football season. This exciting, state-of-the-art project includes shaded tent zones, cable TV hookups, electrical outlets, and permanent restrooms. The central open space, called the Garnet Way, is a grassy promenade lined with scarlet oaks and provides a route for the marching band, cheerleaders, and football team to parade through the venue on the way to the stadium.
The University of South Carolina has since accepted three major awards for the Farmer's Market site redevelopment. The project's design team was led by Cox & Dinkins of Columbia, and Wood & Partners, based in Hilton Head, S.C.
"It has been my great honor to work on this project with the very professional folks at USC Athletics and Facilities Design & Construction," said project manager Darren Holcombe, Vice President of Cox & Dinkins. "Together we broke new ground and turned an old Farmer's Market, covered with rooftops and asphalt into a beautiful and sustainable facility for Gamecock fans to tailgate and enjoy the best game-day experience in the country. This type of project is a win-win for everyone because it repurposed an older industrial property into a park-like setting the entire community can be proud of."
The Columbia Choice Award for "Renovation/Reuse" was presented to USC in the fall 2012 by the Columbia Green and the Columbia Tree & Appearance Commission. This award recognizes excellence in restoration, renovation or adaptive reuse of an existing property. Selection criteria include creativity of use of existing site; adaptation to current building codes and standards; quality of landscape design; environmental stewardship; and innovative treatment of signage, utilities and infrastructure.
The second recognition given was the Award of Excellence for "Best Design/Implementation of a Surface Parking Lot" presented by the International Parking Institute (IPI). The award was announced during the 2013 IPI Conference and Expo, held May 19-22 in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.
Here's what was said at the IPI conference about the Farmer's Market:
"The University of South Carolina's 50-acre tailgating facility serving Williams-Brice Stadium has become a catalyst for neighborhood transformation. The former market site now provides game-day parking and tailgating for more than 3,000 vehicles, and supports a variety of other special events, from food and art festivals to concerts. Patrons enjoy safe, grassy, tree-lined walkways; dedicated tent zones; cable television hookups; electrical outlets; and four restroom buildings. Periodic mowing and yearly aerating are the mostly unpaved facility's only maintenance, and sustainability is at the core of its design. Wells supply irrigation, infiltration trenches and bio-retention cells nearly eliminate stormwater runoff, lights with reflector shields reduce light pollution, and more than 900 tree species reduce the urban heat island effect. In addition, the site's pre-existing materials were recycled: buildings were sold and reconstructed on other sites, metal was recycled, concrete was crushed and sold for use elsewhere; asphalt was milled and mixed back into the soil for support. Built to recall the campus's historic areas, the facility has given birth to a new Gamecock football tradition--the procession of the USC Band and football team down the beautiful center greenway of the site."
The most recent recognition was the Merit Award for Design, presented by the South Carolina chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects in June 2013. The facility was judged on the quality of design, functionality, relationship to context, environmental responsibility and overall relevance to the profession, the public and the environment.
"Whether its watching the team walk down the Garnet Way, a pre-game pep rally or concert or children playing in the open fields, the Farmer's Market project has been instrumental in adding to the Gameday experience for our fans," said University of South Carolina Athletics Director Ray Tanner. "We have been able to transform the area into one where fans can enjoy a quality tailgating experience in a beautiful tree-lined setting. The facility provides for one of the finest tailgating experiences in all of college athletics and deserves all of the accolades and praise that it receives."
"Our design team is thrilled that both the University and the project are being recognized for their commitment to quality design, sustainability and the creation of a new civic space that not only serves Gamecock fans, but also contributes to the fabric of the City of Columbia," added Kyle Theodore, Landscape Architect for Wood & Partners.