Legislation that would give Clemson University some freedom from state bureaucracy on certain construction and real estate projects is now headed for the South Carolina House.
The measure passed the Senate after a 37-4 vote Thursday. It would let the school create a special “enterprise division” to oversee construction projects related to economic development and athletics. That division would be exempt from the grueling approval process that universities must follow.
A college currently must get approval from the Commission on Higher Education, then the Joint Bond Review Committee, and finally the Budget & Control Board, before proceeding with any construction or land deals. The bill would exempt the “enterprise division” from those steps. However, the school would still have to submit a list of all its capital projects or real estate deals each year.
Senate Majority Leader Harvey Peeler (R-Gaffney), who sponsored the bill, says the idea would ultimately save taxpayers money. “Government is a slow-moving beast sometimes. This helps them to create jobs and help our economy.” He said the idea is to give the school more leeway to partner with private and nonprofit groups.