Academic Master Plan Outlines: Florence-Darlington Technical College’s Future

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Florence-Darlington Technical College (FDTC) now has a 10-year academic master plan after engaging the architectural firm of McMillan, Pazdan, and Smith to complete the nearly yearlong process required for the input that goes into the plan. Throughout 2013, the firm interviewed administrators, faculty, staff, students and members of the community at large to identify existing deficiencies and future needs.

Once the plan has been completed, the College will be more student and visitor friendly. The campus will be amassed in an array of beautiful trees, shrubbery and flowers. The entrance to the campus is slated to be located where the 100 and 400 buildings are located now. A state-of-the-art academic building that’ll also house student service and the College’s library will replace the two demolished buildings.

“The new academic building is the primary aspect of the entire academic master plan,” FDTC President Dr. Ben P. Dillard said. “Students and visitors will be greeted by a beautiful entrance that will shelter them from weather conditions. It’ll also help solve some of the parking and overflow issues we have now,” Dillard said

In front and behind the academic building, new parking lots will provide plenty of space for students, visitors, faculty and staff. As you get closer to the entrance of the academic building, the road evolves into a horseshoe-shape that’ll allow for easy access and departure.

However, one of the most notable features to the new academic building is the number of sheltered walkways that’ll keep pedestrians dry from the rain during the spring and fall and shaded during the hot summer months. The entire campus focuses on pedestrian safety thanks to newly added walkways and the main access road that’ll circle the campus, rather than cut through. Not only is the access road concept more convenient, but pedestrians and vehicles will less likely make contact with each other, making for a safer route to class.

“The new campus will be much more convenient to get around, and it’ll be much safer,” Tim O’Dell, Vice President of Business Affairs, said. “We have a problem now where parking lots and access roads are too cluttered, and one of the purposes of the Academic Master Plan is to fix those issues and make travel around the campus easier.”

In front of the 5000 building, an outside amphitheater will connect to the scenic fountain. The main stage actually goes beyond the barriers of the fountain to provide for a more unique experience. Onlookers located on the grassy hill just at the main entrance of the 5000 building will have a clear, breathtaking view of events held on stage.

Other aspects of the Academic Master Plan include renovation of the 200 and 7000 buildings. FDTC will also create a new automotive technology building, recreation building and a new child development center. Behind the Main Campus at the Southeastern Institute of Manufacturing and Technology (SiMT), several new incubator buildings are projected to be created, as well as a multi-purpose sports field. Additional parking at the SiMT is also part of the plan.

“I’m so proud of our team that planned and helped bring this project to life,” Dillard said. “I think students, their parents and visitors to the College will be so pleased with the finished product. The campus will literally look like a brand new college and everything will be easily accessed.”

The total Academic Master Plan estimate is $30,241,600, but that’s during a 10-year span and includes all contingencies, escalation, equipment, furnishing fixtures, and professional fees needed to implement the plan. Not everything listed in an academic plan always get completed either in the timeline projected or even at all, but FDTC’s goal is to complete as much of the plan as possible, so that students, faculty, staff and community can benefit from a much improved and prospering college.

Hunter Thomas

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