Citing a need for renovations and improved protection against earthquake damage, The Citadel in Charleston, S.C., is planning to demolish its iconic Capers Hall and replace it with a more modern structure.
The Charleston Post and Courier reports that the new classroom building at the military college will cost $51.1 million. If the State Fiscal Accountability Board approves the project, The Citadel plans to complete a new building in 2021. The existing Capers would be razed and a new facility would be built in phases starting in fall 2019.
The new building would be 104,844 square feet — 40 percent larger than the existing one. Additional rooms would be constructed in the rear of the hall. In addition to eight academic departments, it would contain offices for The Citadel's diversity and study-abroad programs.
The plans call for a three-story atrium, 37 classrooms, seven computer classrooms, a 250-seat auditorium, a fine arts classroom, psychology lab rooms and an art gallery.
The Citadel originally sought approval from the state to carry out an extensive renovation of Capers Hall, but it opted for a total rebuild after conducting a structural evaluation in 2014, officials say.
They discovered that the steel-frame building had un-reinforced brick and concrete masonry walls that would not be able to withstand a major earthquake such as the 1886 quake that hit Charleston. Rather than spend $7 million to $8 million reinforcing those walls to meet modern international building codes, the school decided to construct a new building.
Capers Hall was built in 1951, Citadel says. The college says it is "one of the most frequently used buildings on campus"—more than 43 percent of all the credit hours generated by the college are produced in Capers Hall.
"The College recognizes the need for a new, expanded state-of-the-art learning facility" to replace Capers Hall, Citadel's Strategic Initiative states.
The Citadel embarked on a $175 million fundraising campaign in 2015 to upgrade various aspects of the college. About $30 million of the campaign is earmarked for campus facilities, and part of that will help pay for the new Capers building.
MORE: Video from The Citadel on it fundraising efforts for school improvements: