The University of South Carolina is proposing a new $200 million campus for its School of Medicine and other health services programs in downtown Columbia.
The announcement came at the end of the school’s budget presentation to state legislators Wednesday. USC is requesting $50 million to jumpstart the School of Medicine’s move from its aging New Deal-era campus in southeast Columbia to a 14-acre site close to Palmetto Health Richland on the edge of the city’s downtown.
Gov. Nikki Haley did not include the project in her proposed budget request released last week.
The current medical school began operating in 1977 at the former Veterans Administration hospital site four miles from USC’s main campus. Chief Operating Officer Ed Walton said the school’s lease at its current site will expire in another 15 years. That means the current $1 lease will increase to more than $7 million per year.
“That’s old space. It’s space that wasn’t subjected to our current rules of maintenance,” Walton told a House budget panel Wednesday. “That space has fallen into disrepair. It puts the School of Medicine at risk.”
USC already maintains a small medical campus at the Palmetto Health site, including surgical and neurology programs. The $200 million would eventually build new classroom facilities and a research center. School officials told the panel they will not seek any additional state money beyond the $50 million.
Kimberly Washington contributed to this report