Work In Progress Construction updates.
» Brick by brick, Swain Hall nearing completion
By Derrick Brachey
The generous donations of Kenneth Swain to Coastal Carolina University will be on permanent display when Kenneth E. Swain Hall opens its door in late April or early May. This will conclude one phase and usher in another for this $15 million endeavor that began with the ceremonial ground breaking back in February 2009. The actual construction began in the summer of 2011, and the progress has developed without much delay.
“It was pushed back three weeks because of an issue with the lab benches,” says Michael Roberts, dean of the College of Sciences. “If you consider the overall complexity of the building, this is not bad at all.”
The 40,000-square-foot facility is located adjacent to the R. Cathcart Smith Science Center and will house CCU's health sciences along with enhanced classrooms and labs that allow research in biochemistry and molecular biology, including DNA technology. It will also add more supply space and faculty offices.
“We’ve had most of the equipment. We just didn’t have the space,” Roberts says. “The students can’t use the equipment because it was collocated with classrooms and other labs. This building solved our square-foot problem, and allowed us to organize our facilities.”
It will also include state-of-the-art research and teaching spaces where students can get hands-on experiential learning in formal labs. “The great thing about this is that the donations made by Kenneth Swain are going mostly to programming, not to buying windows for a building,” Roberts says. “The next science building added will come from the penny tax. This allows any money raised from donors to be spent on programmatic needs and outreach."
In 2008, CCU began this building program with grants from several sources and funding from the Horry County penny sales tax, which also contributes to the county’s public schools and Horry-Georgetown Technical College. In 2012, CCU undertook the largest building program in its history, planning 30 separate building projects. Swain Hall is the first stage of the building campaign to accommodate the College of Science’s expanding programs.
Kenneth Swain was born in Brunswick County, N.C., and raised in Myrtle Beach. In his professional life, he was a pharmacist, a realtor and an environmentalist until his retirement in 1988. After his retirement, he began the Swain Scholars Program, which awards a $5,000 annual scholarship to eight CCU students (four juniors and four seniors) for research and outreach projects related to health science.
“The new building will have an office for the Swain Scholars to work together on their community health outreach projects and promote greater opportunities for collaboration in a dedicated space,” says Sharon Thompson, a professor of health promotion and the faculty director for the Swain Scholars. “The building will also have an area which can be used for general health and wellness screenings for CCU students and community members, along with classrooms and meeting space that can be used for health education programming.”
Swain Hall allows not only Swain Scholars but all science students to participate in classroom-based inquiry. As Roberts puts it, “It gives our university the facilities it will need to go into the future prepared.”