Clemson University Wilbur O. and Ann Powers College of Business

Clemson, S.C.


CONTRACTOR: DPR Construction

OWNER: Clemson University



CIVIL ENGINEER: Land Planning Associates


Situated in the heart of campus, the 176,000-sq-ft predominantly brick and glass double-tower structure is more than twice the size of the previous home of the College of Business. The North and South towers are connected above ground by an expansive outdoor piazza-inspired stairway that leads to an entry plaza overlooking the university’s historic landscape.

The future-focused facility offers a collaborative, inspiring space for students and educators alike, while also facilitating enhanced interface between academics and industry. A signature feature is a financial trading floor, complete with a double-row stock ticker, that helps finance students learn the nuances of trading stocks and securities. The building also achieves ambitious sustainability goals, with electronic dynamic glass, harvested wood components and a sophisticated HVAC control system. DPR repurposed trees from the site into wood sills, paneling, flooring, benches and tables.

Because the site was a main thoroughfare for pedestrian traffic, extensive preplanning to reroute traffic and minimize inconveniences to campus visitors was essential. DPR also had to closely coordinate the project’s schedule, deliveries and other day-to-day activities with three other major contractors working nearby on different projects.

Clemson University

Photo by Mark Herboth

To meet the owner’s aggressive schedule, DPR deployed an array of virtual design and construction tools, from BIM and virtual reality walkthroughs that allowed for input by end-users during construction to 4D scheduling and virtual skin mock-ups. DPR also self-performed drywall work, utilized innovative, durable construction materials, such as gypsum board manufactured to expedite installation, finishing and inspection.

These and other measures helped position the construction team to withstand the disruptions of unexpected events, from the aftermath of Hurricane Florence in 2018 to complying with COVID-19 health and safety protocols during the project’s final months. Despite these challenges, the team delivered Clemson’s newest academic landmark on time with no lost-time injuries or recordable incidents over nearly 420,000 jobsite staff hours.