Clemson looks to expand at CU-ICAR

Clemson contributed more than $1.83 billion in economic output statewide in 2010, Clemson University President James F. Barker said during a news conference Tuesday in Greenville. (Photo/Liz Segrist)
Clemson contributed more than $1.83 billion in economic output statewide in 2010, Clemson University President James F. Barker said during a news conference Tuesday in Greenville. (Photo/Liz Segrist)

By Liz Segrist
lsegrist@scbiznews.com
Published Sept. 4, 2012

Clemson University is creating a business plan to potentially expand at Clemson University International Center for Automotive Research, Clemson President James F. Barker said Tuesday.

The university is considering options to create a new building on CU-ICAR’s campus, similar to the Center for Emerging Technologies, as it reaches capacity. The university is not ready to make an announcement or give any other specifics at this time.

“The good news is we’re full,” Barker said during a news conference that revealed the university’s economic impact throughout the state.

Clemson contributed more than $1.83 billion in economic output and nearly 25,000 jobs statewide in 2010, according to data analyzed from 2001 to 2010. Clemson’s Strom Thurmond Institute for Government and Public Affairs released the study Tuesday. Findings said that Clemson had a net return to taxpayers of $77.4 million.

In the Greenville-Spartanburg-Anderson combined statistical area, Clemson had a $1.57 billion economic impact and generated 21,566 jobs in 2010. The area includes Greenville, Spartanburg, Anderson, Pickens, Laurens and Cherokee counties.

In Greenville County alone, Clemson directly and indirectly created 6,165 jobs and $508.9 million in the local economy in 2010.

The university continues to work statewide to impact the economy and create a workforce for industry needs.

“We try to find those areas (of study) that are aligned with the economic strengths and economic needs of the state,” Barker said. “We have identified those areas and we are taking our resources to strengthen our faculty and our labs to attract students, both undergraduate and graduate, to those areas.”

He cited CU-ICAR as a major effort to work with industry and meet the automotive sector’s research and workforce needs in the Upstate and throughout South Carolina, as well as on a global scale.

CU-ICAR tripled its number of industry partners during the last fiscal year, according to an annual report the university released Thursday.

Since opening six years ago, CU-ICAR has attracted more than $250 million in public and private investments and helped to create more than 700 jobs, the university said in a news release.

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Barker also noted Clemson’s plans with the Zucker family to create the Zucker Family Graduate Education Center in the Lowcountry that will produce graduates prepared for jobs in composite materials, energy systems, advanced computing, microscopy, aerospace and other fields.

The study does not include the economic impact of Clemson’s 60,000 alumni living and working in South Carolina. It also excludes jobs created by private companies located at Clemson’s innovation campuses, such as CU-ICAR or BMW’s information technology research center.

“This is a very conservative economic impact study, linked to those economic factors that can be directly attributed to activities at or by the university,” said Robert T. Carey, Strom Thurmond Institute research associate.

The study took into account university operational spending from 2001 to 2010 at the main campus in Pickens County; its activities in Anderson and Greenville counties; and activities at its extension offices and other Public Service Activities around the state.

It also included spending by students, spending by visitors to the campus, spending at athletic events, and investment in facilities and equipment by the university.

The study did not include factors such as the income and productivity of Clemson graduates residing in the state; the value of research activities; or the impact from the university’s effect on quality of life in the region.

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