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Clemson's new College of Business takes on a hurricane and a pandemic

2021 Building Team Awards

Clemson's new College of Business takes on a hurricane and a pandemic

Clemson University Wilbur O. Ann Powers College of Business in Clemson receives BD+C's Bronze Building Team Award.

By BD+C Staff | December 13, 2021
Clemson new College of Business building exterior
Photos courtesy DPR Construction


Bronze Award

Clemson University Wilbur O. and Ann Powers College Business, Clemson, S.C.


Project information

Project size: 176,000 sf

Project cost: $87.5 million

Construction time: December 2017 - April 2020

Delivery method: Cm GC - CM at Risk


Building team

Submitting firm: DPR Construction

Owner/Developer: Clemson University

Architect: LMN Architects, LS3P Associates

General contractor: DPR Construction


Essay from DPR Construction

  • Contractor, design teams and client collaborated to assimilate Clemson’s new $87.5M College of Business – the “front door” of the 130-year-old, historically rich campus - with long-standing existing campus facilities
  • Project utilized as a “living laboratory” for students and faculty within the University’s AEC programs
  • Amid hurricane and global pandemic challenges, project finished on-time and within budget
  • State-of-the-art facility honors historical design, consolidated five buildings into one, and achieved three Green Globe, in support of Clemson’s net-zero goals

Clemson University Wilbur O. Ann Powers School of Business

Clemson University Wilbur O. and Ann Powers College of Business challenges and solutions

Designed as a think tank/intentional collision space environment for cultivating social and intellectual interaction, the 176,000-sq.-ft. facility more than doubles the space the College of Business formerly occupied in Sirrine Hall since 1938.

During preconstruction, DPR participated in all meetings and added value by providing design-assist services, performing constructability review of documents working with several key consultants and devising several engineering solutions. The team spent 18 months in schematic design to make sure the building would achieve the goal of preserving Clemson’s campus history while advancing the future look of the campus. Although this meant they would have an accelerated pace through construction, the time spent collaborating as a team allowed the team to push through the schedule seemingly effortlessly.

The design and construction team employed myriad solutions to deliver a space that fostered collaboration, innovation and engagement. Technology solutions and VDC tools focused on increasing project efficiency and quality, including 4D scheduling, laser scanning, virtual walkthroughs, QR codes for heavy equipment tracking, aerial site photography, and live video feed of the jobsite, to name just a few. To ensure the building fit in with others on campus, the team built a wall mockup with several brick samples that was compared to other nearby buildings before an exterior brick was chosen. Exterior skin mockups were created to test for water penetration. Several of the brick panes were even placed on a flatbed trailer and driven to each of the historic buildings that surround the site. To assist end users with interior options, DPR built a mock-up of several office suites that included the Dean’s suite showcasing products under consideration. Each month, Clemson faculty rotated through the space, providing feedback on furniture, lighting, electrochromic glass and other products.

Clemson College of Business

While innovation was at the center of Clemson’s goals for the new College of Business facility, opening the new building on-time was also an important factor for success.

One of the ways that DPR’s construction team were able to accommodate the aggressive schedule and unanticipated circumstances was to self-perform drywall and utilize innovative, durable construction materials, such as gypsum board, which has many advanced features and offers ease of installation.

The Wilber O. and Ann Powers College of Business is Clemson’s first building to receive a Three Green Globes certification, an important accomplishment towards Clemson’s goal of making the university carbon neutral by 2030.

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