On The Move

Milestone met: Darla Moore School of Business celebrates ‘Topping Out’ for new building

Feb 4, 2013

Share This Article

COLUMBIA, SC - February 4, 2013 - A 28-foot beam weighing more than 1,000 pounds was raised into place on the new Darla Moore School of Business Monday (Feb. 4), signifying that the apex of the University of South Carolina’s most ambitious construction project has been reached.

University President Harris Pastides, members of the Board of Trustees and benefactor Darla Moore joined Moore School students, faculty and staff for a “Topping Out” ceremony to honor the construction crew as the structural or “steel” phase of the building nears completion and the enclosure phase begins. The celebration took place on the patio of the Koger Center of the Arts, across from the new building.

On the beam, signed by members of university community, was a Pindo palm tree, a symbol of growth and good fortune and reflective of one of the building’s signature features, the Palmetto Courtyard. It is often customary for iron workers to place a tree or a flag at the highest point of a structure at this stage of the construction process. A second beam, signed by Moore School students last week, was erected on the northwest side of the upper level earlier in the day.

President Pastides praised the dedication of the workers for reaching the milestone.

“Today, we mark the impending completion of the structural construction phase of the Darla Moore School of Business, Carolina’s most ambitious project to date, and take the opportunity to thank these talented iron and steel workers for their lasting contribution to the university and the Columbia community,” Pastides said. “I am proud of the approximately 1,600 jobs that have been created as a result of the construction effort and equally proud of the Net Zero rating we are pursuing. As we raise the steel beam with the Pindo palm tree, let’s all remember that the palm appropriately symbolizes growth and good fortune – something I envision for each and every student who will soon study within these walls.”

Dean Hildy Teegen conveyed the pride felt by the greater Moore School community in seeing their new future academic home take form.

"The students, faculty and staff of the Moore School are thrilled to mark this important milestone in our project-- one that will enable us to teach and learn in new ways, to break down disciplinary silos and to engage ever more fruitfully with colleagues on campus and in the business and policy communities on matters critical for advancing economic development in the Palmetto state,” Teegen said.

The contractors working on the new Moore School, many of which are based in Columbia, were recognized by Jeff Lamberson, USC’s director of campus planning and construction. Gilbane Co., Cumming and Brownstone Construction Group, responsible for managing the project, are bringing the iconic designs of Rafael Viñoly Architects to life.

The university began construction on the new Moore School in December 2011; the building project is on schedule for completion this December with use by faculty, staff and students beginning January 2014. Located at the corner of Assembly and Greene Streets, the building promises to transform business education at the university, serve as the front door to Innovista and usher in a new era of green building in the state.

Rafael Viñoly Architects said inspiration for the building’s design was the state tree, the Sabal Palmetto, and describes the concept as a “natural structure that appears to grow naturally out of the ground and at its heart encircles a ‘Palmetto Court.’”

Its open and flexible design is intended to foster interaction and collaboration among students and faculty in new ways, and be a hub for community engagement.  A 500-seat auditorium has been designed for musical performance as well as lectures -- the result of a partnership, and support from, the School of Music.

The new Darla Moore School of Business is the university’s most ambitious sustainability project to date.  It is on track to become the largest LEED Platinum building in South Carolina, with the university pursuing a Net-Zero rating through a partnership between the Moore School and the U.S. Department of Energy.


Darla Moore School of Business



Architect:  Rafael Viñoly Architects of New York

Construction management: Gilbane Co., Cumming and Brownstone Construction Group

Cost:  $106.5 million

Estimated square footage:  251,891 gross square feet

Location:  Assembly and Greene streets, next to Carolina Coliseum

Construction timeline:  Site preparation began December 2011

Scheduled opening date:  December 2013

Levels: The building will have six levels:  0 (maintenance, kitchen preparation); 1 (student learning, lecture and performance hall); 2 (main level, services); 3 (executive education, conference center, administrative offices); 4 (faculty offices, research lab); and 5 (rooftop with two pavilions).

Special Features: The iconic building will feature an open and flexible design to foster interaction and collaboration. The expansive use of glass will enable visitors to see into the building’s main level, which will include a visitor’s center, a digital library, a trading room with stock market ticker boards and a café. It also will feature a spacious open-air courtyard with a Pavilion, a free-standing space for lectures and special events, and a green space called the Palmetto Court because it will feature groupings of large sabal palms.

Technology: Advanced telepresence technology by Cisco and Polycom will be installed in a variety of locations throughout the building, including some executive education classrooms, to allow real-time communication and teaching involving multiple sites around the world. Technology will be present in all classrooms, conference rooms, lecture halls and the library to provide greater flexibility in learning and potential for collaboration.

School of Music Partnership: A $1.5 million contribution from the School of Music will go toward the construction of a 500-seat lecture and performance hall. It will augment current university musical performance spaces that include a 2,000-seat hall in the Koger Center for the Performing Arts and a 250-seat recital hall in the School of Music.

Sustainability: Building plans incorporate features for earning a LEED Platinum with aspirations of a Net-Zero rating (building that generates as much energy as it consumes).

DOE Partnership: The U.S. Department of Energy selected the Moore School to partner with its Net-Zero Energy Commercial Building Partnership program. Moore School selection has resulted in consultation and involvement of national experts in energy technologies and building systems and design and operation practices in the building project.

Green Design: The new Darla Moore School of Business is on track to become the largest LEED Platinum building in South Carolina and is pursuing a Net-Zero rating through a partnership between the school and the U.S. Department of Energy. The building maximizes natural light throughout. Each level shades the one below it.  Special “chill beams” on the second level will cool and heat, eliminating ductwork and mechanical air on that level. A variety of green roofs are being constructed. Ones on the second, third and fifth levels create garden environments within the school. The green roof on the fourth level and above the Pavilion, which is situated in the interior courtyard, provides insulation and heat reflection.