FLORENCE, S.C. − FMU President Fred Carter showed off the second of two new buildings Tuesday that the university will move into for the spring semester: the university's Honors Center on the main campus.
The other new building is the old federal courthouse/post office in downtown Florence.
The new honors center occupies the last vacant spot on the campus as it was originally envisioned.
The new building will be home to the Honors Center, the university's international programs and the Robert McNair Center for Research and Service, Carter said.
The center, designed to look as if it had been there for a while, is built around a large, interior courtyard home to a 19-foot-long/750-gallon water feature and a 1,300-square-foot, energy efficient skylight. To the south of the courtyard are several classrooms and to the north are more classrooms and faculty offices.
The water feature is a campus trademark − almost every building built in the past 20 years for the school includes a water feature.
The skylight, architect Dennis Ward said, is made of panels that are six-inches thick and designed to diffuse the light, prevent any hot spots on the courtyard and shine at night like a beacon.
The skylight also allows enough light through to keep the plants around the water feature happy and growing, Ward said.
The new building is both energy efficient and low maintenance and will soon be Green Globe certified − an energy efficiency standard.
Though design and construction on the building started before the COVID-19 pandemic, Ward said the building's design allows for the space necessary for students and faculty to be safe − and each room contains at least one hand sanitizer dispenser.
The university's IT staff handled the wiring of the building for the internet.
Ward said the central courtyard and the surrounding classrooms are set up to allow it to be used for university events − that the narrow long tables and chairs all roll and the tables are designed to work back-to-back as a full-size table − with very little labor involved.
Students are expected to move into the new building for the spring semester.
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