Nonprofit Newswire | USC Cancels Bids on Building—Gives Control of Design to Donor

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April 11, 2010; The State | In a situation that has been called “unprecedented” Darla Moore, a financier who has given about $60 million—two-thirds of what it will cost University of South Carolina to build a new business school—has been granted control over choosing the architect for the $90 million building despite the fact that bids were already in. The four firms who bid were estimated to spend months and upwards of $100,000 each to prepare the bids.

Moore sits on the board of the foundation of the new business school and is reportedly expecting the building to be named for her. The Architect she has chosen will be awarded a contract estimated at $4 million. Ashley Landess of the South Carolina Policy Council has problems with the arrangement because she feels that there has been an “end run” around the procurement process.

If private money is mingled with public money, the project should have to follow public rules, Landess said. Landess remarked, “There will be public money involved in this project and a lot comes from other government sources. It’s a symptom of a bigger problem: the university blurring the line between private and public money.”—Ruth McCambridge