USCB Celebrates Formal Opening of the Sand Shark Recreation Center
BLUFFTON, S.C. (February 2015) – More than 100 members of the university community gathered yesteday morning to celebrate the formal opening of the Sand Shark Recreation Center, the newest building on the University of South Carolina Beaufort’s Hilton Head Gateway campus.
At 22,581-square-feet, the recreation center forms the nucleus of the Sand Shark Recreation Complex, now evolving in an area adjacent to the Library. The heart of the recreation center is the gymnasium, which encompasses two basketball courts that provide indoor workout space for athletic teams as well as a site for intramural sports ranging in scope from student volleyball leagues to faculty and staff pickup games of basketball. The gym also will enable USCB to extend its growing summer camp and conference services.
The new recreation center and an adjacent four acres of new athletic fields were constructed and developed at a cost of $3.6 million, which was financed through a direct cash investment by the Beaufort-Jasper Higher Education Commission. The total cost of the project has been paid in full. There is no debt. The project required no state funding.
“This is a long-awaited and happy day at USCB,” Dr. Jane T. Upshaw, the university chancellor, told an assembly of distinguished guests, faculty, staff, students and friends of the university. “It’s a day in which we celebrate together the opening of a facility dedicated to student fitness, intramurals and recreation. It will truly be the home of the Sand Sharks—students, faculty and staff, and our community supporters.”
The Sand Shark Recreation Center provides the university with a venue large enough to accommodate all of its students at the same time. USCB has over 600 students living in campus residential facilities out of a total enrollment of some 1,800 students.
“Ceremonies like the annual convocation, events like orientation and campus day, and speakers or concerts will be so much more effective—and weatherproof—in this facility,” the chancellor said.
In addition to the gymnasium, the Sand Shark Recreation Center includes a fitness center aerobics room, athletic training room, and the new headquarters for Sand Shark Athletics.
“From its new headquarters, the Sand Sharks athletics staff will find its daily work and interactions with students—and their athletic recruiting—more efficient and more effective,” she said.
“I’m sure it comes as no surprise to any of us here today…the tremendous success and significance this new facility has for our student body,” Athletic Director Quin T. Monahan told the crowd. “Club sports, intramurals and fitness opportunities abound in an indoor recreation center such as this, opportunities that never existed prior to the opening of these doors—I’ve witnessed hundreds of students playing volleyball, basketball, kickball, wiffleball, dodgeball—and just hanging out.
“As I walk through the facility day in and day out, it still amazes me to see the number of students utilizing the new and improved fitness center, the aerobics room, and certainly this gymnasium,” Monahan said. “On any given evening or weekend afternoon, it’s not uncommon to see 40 to 50 or even more students in here playing and watching their friends playing sports.”
Adjoining the recreation center are four acres of athletic fields for student intramurals and recreation. The fields are connected to the outdoor recreation complex the university opened some years ago when it expanded on-campus housing.
Located in the heart of the Carolina Sea Islands, the University of South Carolina Beaufort (USCB) is a baccalaureate member of the USC system, serving the southeast coast of South Carolina and Georgia. Since 2002, USCB has tripled its academic degree programs, doubled its FTE enrollment, opened its first on-campus housing (now serving over 600), joined the NAIA Sun Conference, and fielded conference and national award-winning Sand Shark athletes in nine sports. The university’s two campuses serve a diverse student body of 1,800 students. The Hilton Head Gateway campus in Bluffton, SC, offers cutting-edge Computational Science and Nursing laboratories, a broad range of academic degree programs, and is home to Sand Shark athletics. The Historic Beaufort campus, located on Beaufort’s downtown waterfront, houses an innovative baccalaureate Studio Art program in close proximity to Beaufort’s many art galleries. Students enjoy opportunities on Hilton Head Island, including the USCB Center for Event Management and a Coastal Ecology research partnership with Vagabond Cruise. USCB serves 1,500 Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) members, who participate in more than 1 million course hours annually, placing OLLI at USCB in the top 10 in the country. The University of South Carolina Beaufort offers students an exceptional place to learn and live in an environment focused on growth, preservation and opportunity.