Gupta College ceremony

CCU releases new details about its proposed community-focused Convocation Center

Board of Trustees | June 20, 2024

During Coastal Carolina University’s recent announcement of Chance Miller as the new vice president for intercollegiate athletics and University recreation, mention was made of a proposed Convocation Center to be located on the corner of Hwy. 501 and University Boulevard. 

Providing additional details about this facility, CCU President Michael T. Benson said: “Horry County and its citizens have supported our institution since its inception in 1954 through various means including the renewal of the Penny Sales Tax in 2022 for an additional 15 years. We acknowledged this unwavering support in 2023 with the naming of Penny Hall on our main campus. As another symbol of our gratitude for this decades-long partnership with our home county, we intend to construct a Convocation Center for use by our community. A center like the one we are proposing is certainly needed as a gathering place for our community in one of the fastest-growing counties in the country. 

“This proposed 8,000-seat facility will have the capacity to host concerts, high school graduations, and assemblies, as well as provide a space to host our neighbor and partner – Horry-Georgetown Technical College – for their commencement activities. For CCU, we will finally have a home to conduct most of our Universitywide and college-specific ceremonies, which have outgrown our space in the HTC Center. 

“Several of our Chanticleer athletic teams will continue to be housed in the HTC Center for training and practice purposes but will use the Convocation Center for home contests. We would also welcome the opportunity to host statewide high school athletic championships and tournaments as well as collegiate and other competitions.”

Gupta College ceremony

The Convocation Center will be funded through the Penny Sales Tax and is part of a proposed two-facility complex. The second phase will include a Center for the Arts with an 1,800- to 2,000-seat concert hall, which could accommodate traveling shows and local groups, and provide space for CCU students, faculty, and staff to stage larger performances. Timing on the design and construction of Phase II will depend on proceeds from the Penny Sales Tax.

“We have a proposed financing plan in place for Phase I (Convocation Center) and will continuously monitor the Penny Sales Tax proceeds to determine the timeline for Phase II (Center for the Arts),” said Benson. 

CCU is moving forward with securing both the land and the requisite approvals to begin the project; a date for the groundbreaking has not been determined. However, the Convocation Center’s timeline will not interfere with projects already funded and in the process of securing approval: a new track and field complex across Hwy. 501, expansion of the Lib Jackson Student Center, and construction of a new academic facility to host the Conway Medical Center College of Health and Human Performance. These projects will join other improvements under construction or nearing completion: a new indoor practice facility, a new soccer stadium, and the much-needed Thompson Library. The latter two projects will be completed before the start of the Fall 2024 semester. 

“When I mentioned this land provides a generational opportunity to construct something very special, I meant it,” said Benson. “We really get one shot at this, and we welcome the opportunity to collaborate with our various community partners to program, design, construct, and animate this truly unique space with unbelievable visibility along one of our state’s busiest thoroughfares. Processes to secure the land and garner the requisite state approvals are underway, and we intend to find ways to give people a sense of the scale and scope of this project.”

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