$15M indoor football facility moves forward for Coastal Carolina University campus

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Preliminary rendering of CCU’s proposed practice facility courtesy of CCU.

CONWAY, S.C. (WBTW) – Tuition and housing costs will remain the same at Coastal Carolina University next academic year and a new indoor football facility could be coming to Conway after the University’s Board of Trustees met Thursday.

Coastal Carolina’s tuition will remain below the state average of in-state tuition of $12,268, this after university leaders approved a freeze to tuition and fees, housing, and meal plan costs for the upcoming year.

Leaders also discussed the largest capital projects on the books and voted to move forward with a proposed indoor football practice facility.

The facility’s proposed location is across from Brooks Stadium at University Boulevard and Highway 544. The land was previously owned by the Coastal Education Foundation. Thursday, the Board approved moving the ownership of that land to the University, which will cost $10,000 (for a land survey).

The proposed $15-million dollar facility will be fully donor-funded and was said to be reminiscent of a new facility at Clemson University.

Matt Houge, the CCU athletic director and vice president of intercollegiate athletics and university recreation, says the addition of this facility is needed and paves the way for future athletes and students.

“It gives us the ability to solve the practice issues now, but then as we go down the road, looking at a way to connect everything into that South Endzone that not only supports everything we need on the athletic side, but also think outside the box about some academic classrooms, some other types of multiuse that could be factored into how that south endzone is developed and that ties a bow on the entire stadium where we kind of have a hole right now,” Houge explained.

He also says the facility will bring more of a national spotlight to the football program.

“It’s certainly a need to help us continue to take our program farther and compete on the national level,” he said. “It’s obviously a need on a practical level because we have unpredictable weather. We have storms, we have lightning. We don’t want our practices to be interrupted and it also has a competitive need. When you talk about the recruiting climate which is fierce, and you’ve got to have facilities that meet that.”

Trustees were also briefed on what one leader called the University’s largest current capital project: The Kimbel Library Learning Complex. The complex will cost nearly $30 million dollars, much of which was funded by the penny sales tax. That project is estimated to be finished by the fall of 2023.

 A library renovation project worth $10 million dollars is also on the books and though an architect was selected for the project, the Board of Trustees wants to revisit the project plan as the architect for the Library Learning Complex is different than the renovation project.

Amanda Craddock, the CCU associate provost for enrollment management, says the number of freshmen and transfer applications for fall 2021 are up from 2020. 

Freshmen student deposits are up 31% and transfer student deposits are up more than 100%.

“We saw an increase in acceptances, which netted in an increase of deposits from where we were last year,” Craddock explained. “What that means is, to date, more students have committed to enrolling in Coastal Carolina University, than they had at this time last year. We had adjusted some dates last year due to the pandemic, but we are actually trending a little bit ahead in terms of students who have committed to the university from where we were in 2018 and 2019.”

While there is no vaccine mandate for students, CCU leaders can use up to $300,000 of CARES Act money on a program to incentivize vaccination.

As part of the continued budget discussion, University President Michael Benson’s discretionary fund was set at $350,000.

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