Coker Celebrates Harris E. and Louise H. DeLoach Center

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HARTSVILLE, S.C. – April 25, 2013 – At the launch of the most ambitious capital campaign in the institution’s history, today Coker College celebrated the start of construction on its new 71,000 square-foot athletics facility, the Harris E. and Louise H. DeLoach Center.

Explaining that the name for the facility needed to convey the College’s intentions for the building, Coker College President Robert Wyatt said he wanted the new Center to be a place that would bring pride to the campus and the Hartsville community, support students’ individual growth and honor the work of Coker’s founders as well as its future leaders.

“We want our new Center to encourage individuals and teams and, indeed, this campus and the community of Hartsville to continually strive for greater achievement,” said Wyatt.  “Like its worthy namesakes, The Harris E. and Louise H. DeLoach Center will do all of these things and much more.”

“Louise and I are so pleased to be a part of this building project with Coker College,” said Harris DeLoach.  “It reflects our deep appreciation for the good work of students, faculty, staff, alumni and the administration. More importantly, however, we want it to reflect how passionately we believe in the role that education plays in the success of the people of this community.”

Howard Coker, chair of the Coker College Board of Trustees, explained that the decision to build a new athletic center emerged from the College’s recently released five-year strategic plan and an extended period of planned enrollment growth.

“Three months ago today, we broke ground on the first of six residential buildings that will be home to 248 bright, engaging new students, 248 students who will be a part of Coker’s ideal 1,500 and who will reshape this college,” said Coker.  “Today, we celebrate a project that will redefine the futures those students will create.”

Harris E. DeLoach Jr. is executive chairman of Sonoco’s board of directors and a trustee of The Duke Endowment. He served as chairman and chief executive officer at Sonoco Products Co. before his retirement this month.

Bringing together stakeholders in private and public sectors, parents and community members, and educators at all levels, in 2011 under DeLoach’s leadership, Sonoco committed $5 million to establish PULSE, an innovative achievement program that brings together Coker College, the Darlington County School District, the Governor’s School for Science and Mathematics and Yale University’s School Development Program in a unique collaboration to support Hartsville students from kindergarten through high school graduation.

Earlier this year, DeLoach was named the Will Woodham Business Person of the Year by the Hartsville Chamber of Commerce. He was inducted into the South Carolina Business Hall of Fame in 2010 and was named Business Person of the Year in 2008 by the South Carolina Chamber of Commerce.   He is a past trustee of Coker and received an honorary degree from the College in 2001.

Designed by McMillan Pazdan Smith Architecture, with construction management services provided by Choate Construction, the facility will have a main gymnasium with a seating capacity of 1,832 and wide-ranging features including a practice gym, classroom space, state-of-the-art training rooms, offices, a conference room and a café.

Beth Bass, CEO of the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association and a Hartsville native who was not able to be present for today’s ceremony expressed her personal appreciation about the project.

“I am not surprised by Sonoco’s perpetual commitment to the Hartsville community,” said Bass.  “Their vision will pave the way for young men and women to dream great dreams and see them to fruition.”

For information about the Redefining Excellence campaign, visit www.redefining-excellence.com.

 

Photos, clockwise from top left:

  • From left - Louise DeLoach, Harris DeLoach and Howard Coker.
  • From left - Breaking ground for the Harris E. and Louise H. DeLoach Center are Coker College President Robert Wyatt, Harris DeLoach, Louise DeLoach, Howard Coker, Cindy Hartley and Charles Sullivan.
  • The platform party for the groundbreaking ceremony is joined by students, administrators and Striker, the Cobra mascot.

 

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Coker College
Coker College readies undergraduates for personal and professional success through a distinctive four-year program that emphasizes a practical application of the liberal arts as well as hands-on and discussion-based learning within and beyond the classroom. Coker is ranked among the “Best Colleges” in the South by U.S. News & World Report as well as The Princeton Review. Located in Hartsville, S.C., Coker is within two hours of the cultural, financial and recreational resources of Charlotte, Columbia, Charleston and Myrtle Beach.  For more information, visit www.coker.edu.

McMillan │ Pazdan │Smith Architecture
McMillan Pazdan Smith is a studio-based, regional architecture, interior design and planning firm established in 1955.  Serving health care, education, community and corporate clients, the firm has offices in Asheville, N.C., Atlanta, Ga. and Charleston, Greenville and Spartanburg, S.C.  For more information, visit www.mcmillanpazdansmith.com.

Choate Construction Co.
Choate Construction Company is one of the largest commercial building general contractors in the southeastern United States with offices in Mt. Pleasant, S.C.; Charlotte and Raleigh, N.C.; and Savannah and Atlanta, Ga. Founded in 1989, Choate provides preconstruction, general contracting, construction management, design-build services, and LEED construction/consulting services with the singular focus of delivering the highest quality finished product on time and within budget. Areas of specialty include   educational facilities and student housing; office and data; retail and mixed-use; healthcare and biomedical; industrial distribution and manufacturing; governmental buildings; multi-family; senior living; automotive; and sports/recreational facilities. For more information, visit www.choateco.com.

 

 

 
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