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  • Ian Livingston Brooking

University prepares for student growth in coming years

The campus of Coastal Carolina University is growing fast. Whether it is new academic buildings or expansions and renovations of current buildings, the campus of Coastal Carolina is much larger than it was five years ago.

Since 2013, the campus has added four new academic buildings – Academic II, Brittain Hall Swain and Science II. It has also added four new residence halls – Chanticleer, CINO, Teal and Traditional Hall. The university has even expanded the Lib Jackson Student Union and Brooks Stadium and renovated the Smith Science Center. The Public Safety Building became established on this campus in 2013.

All of this is in preparation for the university to achieve their goal of getting 12,500 full-time equivalent (FTE) students by 2023.

Based on the amount of time, money and effort that the administration has put, Coastal Carolina President David DeCenzo says that the university is prepared for the rise in attendance at Coastal Carolina.

“The growth of this campus is projected to a limiting growth of two-and-a-half percent a year,” said DeCenzo. “With that growth rate, we do not plan to build any more residence halls. When you look at the statistics, it is usually about forty percent of your student population lives in student housing. We have 5,500 beds in our student housing, so when you do the math of forty percent of 12,500 possible students, we are right in that 5,500 range.”

And while the university is looking to gain roughly two thousand more students in the next five years, DeCenzo did have some comments in regards to the always heated topic of parking on campus.

“We are not looking at building any new lots right now,” said DeCenzo. “Some of the lots, such as YY and the parking lots at HGTC, are always open, and we have worked hard to get the shuttles to operate to benefit students. We are just trying to continue to educate people that parking is on the outskirts and that is because of trying to keep students safe on campus.”

In December of 2015, gates were installed on Chanticleer Drive just outside of Wall College as the University saw the possibilities of students getting hit.

“It was an accident waiting to happen,” said DeCenzo. “A majority of the foot traffic we have on campus, especially during the times when there are class changes, is right there in between Hicks Dining Hall and Wall College. The gates now allow students to get from the residence halls that are near and behind Hicks to their classrooms safely.”

Logan Jarrell, a marine science major and a former Student Government Association (SGA) Member, says that the university has handled the growth well since he came to campus as a freshman in Fall 2015.

“With rapid growth, there are challenges,” said Jarrell. “I believe that the university has handled the growth well in recent years. Our students are very good at recognizing problems on this campus. When students remain silent on certain issues and don’t let their coordinators, SGA senators or other members of the administration aware of the issue, sometimes these issues can go on for a long time. But when we learn about these problems, they are usually easy to fix.”

Jarrell says that there are some problems that he sees on this campus and for those problems to be fixed, he said that that is where the voices of the student body play a key role in making change happen on this campus.

“I would agree that the Student Government Association needs to be a little more in tune with those voices, speaking for that organization,” said Jarrell. “And if that happens, I feel like the university would do something about it because when the university gets word of a problem, they are pretty good at addressing it.”

A lot has happened at Coastal Carolina since DeCenzo became president of the university back in 2007. DeCenzo and his administration should be credited for the advancement in both academic and athletic success that have happened at this institution. There have also been two need doctoral programs introduced to this campus - Coastal and Marine Systems Science opening back in Fall 2014 and an Interdisciplinary Ph.D. in Education coming to the university in Fall 2019.

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