Where once a stadium stood, three residence halls rose at Presbyterian College.
Amid a hospitality tent, blue and white balloons and a particularly garish blue ribbon, suitable for cutting, a standing-room-only crowd gathered behind Neville Hall to tour one of the dormitories where seniors are soon to be housed. Building A is ready. Building B is close. Building C will be ready by September.
Together they replace what once was Walter Johnson Field, then Bailey Memorial Stadium, and the unforgettable smokestack of Leroy Springs Gymnasium (now student center) that used to run right through the middle of the press box. Football hasn’t been played there since a new Bailey Memorial Stadium opened in 2002, though one could imagine a few being tossed around in the courtyard that is taking shape.
College President Robert Staton declared it a momentous day and praised a few of the significant forces in the fait accompli, more commonly known in these parts as “a done deal.”
“Today has been a long time coming,” said PC President Bob Staton ’68. “Today a long-discussed need of the college and a much-anticipated occurrence is becoming a reality as we cut the ribbon today on the new senior apartment-style housing on campus.
“It’s a great day to be at PC, and it could not have happened without a lot of people being involved over many, many years.”
Debbie Turbeville, state director of the United States Department of Agriculture, represented the $50.8 million grant from the USDA’s Rural Development Community Programs. Bill LaMotte, Senior Vice President of Synovus Bank, and Jeffrey Reynolds (PC ’79), President of H.G. Reynolds Co., Inc. (construction), took turns at the podium.
“Rural communities need a forward-focused agency that can assist local leaders with new and fresh solutions. Partnerships are essential to who we are,” said Turbeville, state director for USDA Rural Development of South Carolina. “We are always happy with the work that we do in Laurens County. Again, to everyone who contributed to this project, thank you for everything you have done and will continue to do here in the [city] of Clinton.”
West Columbia’s Madyson Glenn was there. She’s going to spend her senior year in the new housing, which she noted was PC’s first new dorm in 15 years.
“I am beyond excited to be among the first to live in these new residence halls,” Glenn said. “It is an honor and privilege to experience my last year at Presbyterian College as a student from a space that is so conducive to not only ensuring my academic success but enabling me to gain the best experience possible in all aspects.”
E.G. Lassiter ’69, chair of the Board of Trustees, also spoke glowing words about the new complex.
“I know that our students are very excited about moving into these units in just a few short weeks,” Lassiter said. “The heart of campus has certainly been enhanced by having this new housing project completed, and they will continue to add energy and vibrance to this important part of our campus.”
Posing, as well, as Staton scissored his way through the ribbon, were Campus Life VP and Dean of Students Dr. Joy Smith, architect Doug Quackenbush, Associate Dean of Students and Director of Residence Life Drew Peterson, and Mickey Crisp, the Executive Director of Facilities.
They’ve built the dorms, and now they will live in them.