Director, Marketing & Public Relations
(864) 592-4931 or (864) 494-6679 (cell)
For Immediate Release
December 14, 2010
Spartanburg, S.C. – Spartanburg Community College (SCC) is one step closer to opening the College’s new Downtown Campus. The South Carolina State Budget and Control Board gave final approval today for the College’s purchase of the historic Evans Building. Located on South Dean Street in downtown Spartanburg, the 110,000 square-foot, three-story Evans Building will now be purchased from Spartanburg County for $3,340,000 by the College. In exchange, the College will transfer ownership of the Dent Building to the County, which is the current site of County administrative offices.
“Spartanburg Community College remains committed to our partnership with Spartanburg County and so many others who are dedicated to creating a learning environment in the Evans Building,” says Gary Towery, chair, Spartanburg County Commission for Technical and Community Education. “This last approval from the State Budget and Control Board allows the College to proceed with the development of the Downtown Campus, and puts us closer to our goal of creating a thriving local economy with education at the center. Thanks to the collaborative partnership and vision of so many who have supported this initiative, our entire community will have an opportunity to pursue associate degrees, diplomas and certificates in the heart of our city.”
Plans for SCC’s Downtown Campus began in 2009 in an effort to:
- develop an educational hub for those who live, work and play in downtown Spartanburg,
- respond to Spartanburg County’s 40/30 Challenge to increase higher education attainment of citizens of all ages, and
- create a Workforce Development Center to meet the needs of underemployed and unemployed citizens in the downtown area.
In July of this year, the Spartanburg County Commission for Technical and Community Education voted to purchase the Evans Building from Spartanburg County. The Evans Building is the ideal site for the new campus, given its square footage and central location in a thriving and growing downtown, all of which will provide access to an underserved population. More features of the building include convenient parking and proximity to Spartanburg’s world-class library. SCC expects to open the new campus in spring 2013. Funds for renovation, equipment and furnishings are being raised through public and private fundraising efforts as well as federal grants and financing opportunities.
“Revitalizing the historic Evans Building with such deep ties to Spartanburg and education is a true privilege for SCC, and aligns perfectly with our mission and vision to ‘change the lives and build the futures of our students, and to be a catalyst for economic development through innovation, collaboration and excellence,’ “ says Dr. Para M. Jones, SCC president. “Returning the Evans Building to its original purpose – a center of education – will result in a legacy that will sustain our community for many years to come.”
The Evans Building was the center of Spartanburg’s educational system for more than 50 years. Built in 1921, it was the Frank Evans High School from 1922-1933, Spartanburg High School from 1933-1959, and last used for educational purposes as Evans Junior High School from 1959-1978, when it was sold to the County.
The downtown community college concept is a national model, one that offers a proven track record of success. This model is good for business and it improves lives. In fact, state and local governments reap a 16 percent return on every dollar they invest in community colleges due to the increased earnings of graduates, according to the American Association of Community Colleges.
“It is well documented across the nation that when a community college opens a downtown campus, it changes the culture in terms of college access,” adds Jones. “Our goal is to make a significant investment in downtown Spartanburg and open the ‘educational door’ to as many people as possible.”
SCC was recently named one of the fastest-growing community colleges in the United States, according to Community College Weekly. The College’s Downtown Campus will provide convenient access to educational and training opportunities that lead to high-growth, high-demand career opportunities for students of all ages and from all backgrounds.