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University of South Carolina Beaufort (USCB) Hospitality Management Facility Project Overview

The Hilton Head College Center, a joint venture of USCB and the Technical College of the Lowcountry, was located in one of buildings on this same site from 1991 to 2004. 1,000 students were enrolled. Few people noticed. Traffic was fine.  Students were productive members of the community. By comparison, USCB will start with 200 students and expects to grow to 400 students over time.

USCB’s existing students, young members of the military (from Savannah and Beaufort), and other young adults have already found the nightlife on the South end of the Island. The USCB student population is not large enough to alter the nature of tourism on Hilton Head Island.

This is the least impactful land use, from a traffic standpoint, that can be put in this location. Retail, office, residential or resort uses will generate greater traffic impacts in the immediate area during the morning and evening peak hour periods, on weekends, and particularly in the summer (when the school is not in session).

The USCB presence and the students participating in its programs will raise the bar for the hospitality industry on the island; infusing the island's resorts with new talent and fresh ideas. By being on the Island, the students are more likely to focus on internship opportunities close to the classroom. Having Juniors and Seniors here means a more seasoned student presence.

A permanent and expanded presence for OLLI will bring a greater variety of adult and continuing education offerings for residents and visitors. The expanded facilities will enable off-season training opportunities in a variety of fields that will bring visitors and potential residents to our area.

This portion of the Island will, with this reinvestment, become a “premium” real estate market; but it is not at this time. This is currently part of the glut of unattractive and under-utilized office spaces on the Island. If USCB is not here, then the Town will need to put this parcel back on the market. And the most likely buyers will be retail, restaurant, or resort in nature; thus generating more traffic than USCB - particularly in the summer months.

The TIF District extension was designed and intended to facilitate the USCB project as well as initiatives in the Coligny Area and in the Chaplin Area. The County and School District agreed to participate because of the positive economic development impacts they have already witnessed from the USCB Gateway Campus. USCB’s economic impact on our region grew from $19.1 million in 2002 to $74 million in 2012.

As part of the TIF Extension agreement, all School operating funds have been returned to the School District.   Only Debt Service millage is being retained in the TIF District budget; which is not an area where the Schools are experiencing financial difficulties.

Thanks to the TIF District, the County will contribute 47% of the initial costs; the School District 23%, the Town 18%, USCB 10% and the HHPSD 2%. All future expansion will be the financial responsibility of USCB.

Every time the Town buys land, it comes off the tax rolls. But there are beneficial aspects (open space, parks, public facilities) that have added to the quality of life, have spurred private reinvestment nearby, and have made the remaining land more valuable. Tax base loss is offset in many ways.

Traffic will continue to increase as Hilton Head Island develops and redevelops. Increased investment and redevelopment inside of Sea Pines, as well as outside its boundaries, will both have an impact on traffic in this area.  Traffic improvements are slated for the two most directly impacted intersections based on an initial traffic impact analysis. A more detailed long-range transportation study is underway and will include a focus on the privately-owned Greenwood Drive.

Previously noted benefits to having the USCB facility on Hilton Head Island:

  • Development of a $24,500,000 facility to support the Town’s primary industry with a cash outlay from the Town of only $4,410,000.
  • Adult and continuing education opportunities for residents and visitors; improving quality of life
  • Opportunities for students at management end of an industry that is one of the largest and fastest growing in the nation
  • Opportunities for students in an industry that allows them to remain in the area
  • Enhanced opportunities for internships with local businesses
  • Better trained and knowledgeable employees translates into better service and a better experience for residents and guests
  • Creates opportunities for other collaborative efforts with the University in both the public and private sectors; adding to Island offerings and thus Island “brand”
  • Given its international reputation, success on Hilton Head Island radiates out across the County and region
  • Presence and promotion of the facility will increase exposure of the Island; expanded opportunities for tourism research – adding to the Island’s exposure
  • Events and conferences will showcase the Island and introduce us to future property owners
  • Higher education and continuing education opportunities are a hallmark of most “best communities” type lists
  • Creates space at main campus for expansion of other programs

Additional Information
Preliminary Master Plan pdf icon
Preliminary Exterior Rendering pdf icon