When Mike Parrot came to the Lowcountry in 2006, he came with a purpose. “I came to build something and to be a part of something great. There was a time when we could not build dorms fast enough in Bluffton to support the demand we had for student housing. This college has just grown and grown.” Serving as the director of facilities at the University of South Carolina, Beaufort, it looks like Parrot is achieving his goals. Currently, USCB boasts the honor of being the fastest growing baccalaureate school in the system. But the most amazing part of this growth is how the school has achieved it without losing sight of the tradition that established USCB.
The original college building was constructed in 1802 with the motto “Virtue, Liberty, and Science” chiseled onto the cornerstone. The rich history surrounding the college is a large part of what drew Parrott to this area. So when it came time to expand, keeping that rich history intact was immensely important, and Parrott knew just who to turn to. Because Fraser Construction has been a part of building the current landscape of the Lowcountry for generations, USCB knew that they would understand the goal of anchoring their modern-day buildings in tradition. USCB wanted to revitalize the landscape of Boundary Street for their Beaufort locations as well as ensure that the Bluffton location dorms were in keeping with South Carolina traditions.
The partnership between USCB and Fraser Construction began in 2010 and continued constructing 12 buildings over the next 9 years. But Fraser did not build just any dormitory for USCB, each building is rooted in the architectural tradition of the 1802 signature building in Beaufort. Every detail was worked out with purpose, down to the exterior porches painted with “haint blue” ceilings, a traditional color used by believers of voodoo to ward off evil spirits. And these details did not go unnoticed, the story of these dorms was picked up by media sources like WJCL and Bluffton Today who called the dorms a representation “of the incredible importance of this community in both the history and the future of USCB.”
When it came time to build the USCB School of Hospitality on Hilton Head Island, USCB wanted to continue the tradition of building structures that are truly special. “We are trying to remember where we came from and respect that past while designing a building that is here to make a statement on Hilton Head Island in the 21st century,” stated Parrott. And USCB has made a very large statement. For the design of the building, the Fraser/USCB team turned to Liollio Architecture in Charleston, SC and asked them to use the four columns of the signature building in Beaufort as their inspiration. The results were not only stunning, but sustainable. To date the building has won two globes from the Green Building Initiative® as well as the 2019 Hilton Head Home Builders Association 2019 Lighthouse Award for Best Commercial Building.
The building is two stories and 41,958 square feet boasting a full-size teaching kitchen as well as a teaching beverage bar. The attention to detail is astounding. The building envelope consists of Equitone siding imported from Belgium in order to create a finish that is cement based, incredibly dense, and weather resistant in order to ensure energy efficiency. And in order to give the building a sense of place, the envelope is also stamped with Savannah gray brick creating a traditional lowcountry aesthetic that is in line with the 1802 signature building in Beaufort. The interior is lined with warm exposed wood and complemented by solid maple benches. In order to assure maximum energy efficiency, both the front and back atriums feature a structural unframed glass curtain wall. And of course, the entrance boasts the four columns that inspired the project. To see more CLICK HERE
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