Savannah River Site announces facility coming to USC Aiken

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Thursday, March 25, 2016

AIKEN COUNTY, S.C. (WRDW) -- If there's been one constant in Jonathan Hoile's life, it's his love for science and technology.

"I've always wanted to do computer science," Hoile says. "It's been a dream of mine ever since I started playing video games for the Playstation 2."

The Junior majoring in Computer Science Mathematics says his love has only grown stronger during his time at USC Aiken. But he says there's not enough focus on new technology on campus.

"Right now there's a lot of focus on other subjects, nursing for instance," Hoile says. "I mean, there's definitely no doubting the nursing program here."

That's now changing following Thursday's announcement that USC Aiken will be the site of the Savannah River Nuclear Solutions Advanced Manufacturing center. The 70,000 square-foot five-story building will focus on tech fields like cyber security, virtual reality and advanced robotics.

Dr. Sandra Jordan, one of the main architects of the plan, says the building will bring with it around 110 new jobs to the area. She says their students' chances of landing of job after graduation will rise.

"[Our students] will have an opportunity to work side-by-side with these incredible scholars," Dr. Jordan says, "on all sorts of cutting-edge and brand new technologies."

As for Hoile, he says it's a dream come true for him and the many tech-savvy students that follow.

"It's more opportunity," Hoile says. "It's more ability to be able to learn more, to see more, to do more and to just get a more comprehensive experience with the computer science here."

Dr. Jordan says the site will not deal with high-risk nuclear materials after construction is complete. University officials say they're hopeful to have the new building and program up and running before the start of the 2018-2019 school year.