April 18, 2008
|Watch the Ceremony|
Groundbreaking ceremonies for the Dodie Anderson Academic Enrichment Center (AEC) were held today on the University of South Carolina campus in Columbia. When University of South Carolina Athletics Director Eric Hyman talks about "the Dodie," the $13 million state-of-the-art facility set to open in the fall of 2009, he enthusiastically refers to it as, "the heart of the athletics department and the place where the ebb and flow of student-athletes' days will be centered."
Student-athletes are expected to be in and out of the AEC throughout the day as they use computers and study areas, receive tutoring, counseling and advising and even eat their meals. "It is our hope that `the Dodie' will be a place that will feel like home for our student-athletes," said Raymond Harrison, Director of Academics and Life Skills. "It will be a tremendous resource and will provide our sports teams the opportunity to build on the academic accomplishments they have been able to achieve over the years.
"The Dodie" is named for Dolores F. Anderson of Greer, S.C., whose philanthropic gift is helping to fund the center for University of South Carolina student-athletes. Anderson is the widow of Robert Anderson, the former president and chairman of Anderson Hardwood Floors, the largest privately-owned hardwood floor manufacturer in the United States. A 1981 graduate of USC Upstate with a degree in interdisciplinary studies, Dodie Anderson is co-owner of Anderson Hardwood Floors and a longtime supporter of USC Upstate's athletic programs.
Hyman said that when he first arrived at South Carolina, he interviewed all of the coaches and asked them what the most pressing needs were for the athletics department. "The No. 1 priority from all of our coaches was an academic enrichment center that would provide support for all of our student-athletes," said Hyman. "With the plans we have in place, we believe this will be if not the best, then certainly one of the best facilities of its kind in the country, and it will be the cornerstone of our Athletics footprint and something in which Gamecock Nation can take great pride."
The three-story, 35,000-square foot center will be located across Heyward Street from Stone Stadium, the Gamecocks' soccer facility, in the 41-acre footprint known as "the Roost." It will be the focal point of and the first piece in the re-developed area that eventually will include an athletics administration building, a sports-medicine facility, a volleyball facility, a Gamecock Club building, improvements to the tennis courts, soccer practice fields and outdoor track and a new multi-purpose playing field for women's lacrosse.
"Almost all major universities have a free-standing building for academics," said head football coach Steve Spurrier. "It is crucial that we build ours. Thanks to Dodie and her family, this is going to happen."
The University's planning committee visited and consulted with several universities that recently constructed academic areas to ensure that USC's facility would be on the cutting edge technologically and have all of the amenities that student-athletes are looking for today. Architects for the building are Derek Gruner and Jeff Tilghman of JHS Architecture: Integrated Design, a Columbia-based company that has been involved in numerous building projects for the University.
Head baseball coach Ray Tanner said, "The environment and energy of this new complex will greatly benefit our student-athletes as they strive for academic excellence. `The Dodie' will also be recognized by prospective student-athletes as a first-rate facility to maximize their potential as students."
USC student-athletes are already getting excited about the new facility. Whitney Simons, a member of the women's golf team, said, "The new academic enrichment center is simply a must for this athletics program. In order to compete in the SEC and become national contenders across all sports, we need cutting-edge facilities," she continued. "Not only does it create an amiable study environment for current student-athletes, it shows recruits that the University of South Carolina is serious about being the best."
For further information about the Dodie Anderson Academic Enrichment Center and Gamecock Athletics please visit the University of South Carolina athletics website at: www.gamecocksonline.com.
Some other features of the building include:
Audio/visual multi-purpose room
20 tutoring rooms (accommodates 2-4 people)
15 seminar rooms (accommodates 6-8 people)
Math and English labs
Special needs learning lab
One large quiet study room
One small quiet study room
One large computer lab containing 58 computers
Two small computer labs containing 16 computers
Academic support staff offices
Full wireless capabilities throughout the facility
Academic Hall of Fame