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Athletics Department Recognized for Farmers Market Site Renovation

Nov. 15, 2012

COLUMBIA, S.C. - Columbia Green and the Columbia Tree & Appearance Commission awarded South Carolina Athletics a Columbia Choice Award in the Renovation/Reuse category for its development of the Farmers Market site at Tuesday's Columbia Green annual meeting at Columbia Museum of Art. The athletics department and the project design team were recognized for their contribution to landscaping improvements/urban development within the city limits, especially impressing the panel of judges with the aesthetics and sustainability improvements to the site.

"Creating one of the best tailgating spaces in the country is a project that was a long-time coming for Gamecock Nation, but it was worth it," South Carolina Athletics Director Ray Tanner said. "It has been great to see our loyal fans thriving in their new space this season, and it is just as rewarding to see the design team recognized for the work it did on developing a space that not only improved our fans' experience but also contributed to the overall beautification of the city of Columbia."

For this project, the University worked with Cox and Dinkins, whose project manager Darren Holcombe accepted the award on behalf of the athletics department. Holcombe's team included the creative vision of Kyle Theodore, landscape architect for Wood & Partners, in close consultation with John Thomas of Sustainable Design Consultants. Gene Bell, architect of Watson Tate Savory, was responsible for the site's buildings.

"This was a special experience," Theodore said, " in that all concerned were committed to the quality of the project, one that provides a memorable game-day experience, but also contributes to the community as a whole."

For tailgating, the 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 "Gamecock Walk," during which the marching band, cheerleaders and football team to parade through the venue on their way to Williams-Brice Stadium.

However, the improvements to the 53-acre brownfield site upgraded the quality of the land well before any of the beautification even began. With the removal of both asbestos in existing buildings and underground tanks, clearing and demolition of the site was done with an eye on the environmental impact with structures being sold for relocation or demolished with the remnants recycled. Existing concrete was crushed and sold for re-use, and existing asphalt was removed, milled and mixed with soil media to reinforce the base of the grassy parking areas.

The site includes bio-retention cells to slow run-off, which was reduced by approximately 90 percent, and filter sediments and pollutants. All of which make 80 percent of the site permeable. Over 900 trees were planted, and the front of the site was designed as a flexible-use urban green space.

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