Recently I attended the ribbon cutting ceremony for Little’s project at the University of South Carolina Lancaster. This is my favorite part of any project – it’s a chance to celebrate a new beginning for the University, but more importantly, it’s a chance to watch the excitement of the faculty and students as they settle in to a new home. Yes, there is certainly pomp and circumstance … it is a unique and deserved moment to recognize those primarily responsible for the accomplishment. As expected, the Chancellor and key donors were there to reflect on the opportunities that the building has provided for the campus. On this particular campus, however, I believe this moment is most cherished by the larger Lancaster community. USC Lancaster is a very charming yet modest campus. One of its key attributes is that it is integral to the city fabric. New companies that locate there and those who have grown up there all look to the campus as a symbol of the area’s stability and prosperity.
At a time when ANY new public building is intensely scrutinized and closely evaluated for its ‘efficiency’ and ‘practicality’, it is refreshing to interact with those that will use this facility – they are simply excited for their community. This confidence is really powerful to witness. We need to remember that a key opportunity of these buildings is to move us beyond the boundaries of the structure and engage with a larger audience. Little was sincerely thanked by the USC Lancaster for our role in this process, but we’re the ones that are thankful for a community that understands the value of these moments.