South Carolina

go downtown
Downtown’s new vision includes renovation, liveliness

Higher education options include new college, courses
2013 | sponsored by The GreaTer sumTer Chamber of CommerCe and The sumTer eConomiC developmenT board

Multiple Choices


South Carolina
2013 eDitiOn vOlume 3

8 Welcome to Sumter

an introduction to the community

Things to Do
12 A Welcoming Spirit
Sumter’s warm hospitality can be found on its front porches

16 Go Downtown
Downtown’s new vision includes renovation, liveliness

21 Local Flavor Sumptuous Sumter 22 Arts & Culture Artistry Overflows 24 Sports & Recreation Participation recommended

28 multiple Choices



Higher education options include new colleges, courses

32 Health Have Patients 34 Education Grading Spaces

37 Community Profile

40 Business Savvy
Shaw AFB, Pilgrim’s Pride among Sumter’s largest employers


42 making Growth tracks
Continental, Caterpillar, others bask in warm business climate

47 Chamber Letter Work in Progress

48 economic Profile

On the Cover Swan Lake Iris Gardens is one of Sumter’s most popular attractions and is home to all eight swan species. Photo by Martin B. Cherry

all or part of this magazine is printed with soy ink on recycled paper containing 10% post-consumer waste. please reCyCle This maGazine

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Welcome to Our County …
Where the community spirit is hinged on Southern charisma and patriotic commitment to our military partners. Sumter’s diverse opportunities through tourism, recreational activities, and cultural venues are ever-changing and growing for our youth, young adults, and matured citizens and visitors. Sumter is just a short drive from Interstate 95 at Exit 135. Come make Sumter your home.

Visit the website for more great photos and stories about Sumter, South Carolina.

PhoTos & viDeo

The choice is YOURS, the

is OURS!


South Carolina

go downtown
Downtown’s new vision includes renovation, liveliness

Things To Do
Find the must-do attractions, activities and dining in Sumter.

Higher education options include new college, courses
2013 | sponsored by The GreaTer sumTer Chamber of CommerCe and The sumTer eConomiC developmenT board

Multiple Choices

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Learn about Sumter’s schools, health care, education and neighborhoods.

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1005 Alice Dr. Sumter, SC 29150

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n nt go dowvisionow new
Downtown’s s vation, livelines includes reno

on options Higher educati , courses college include new
of Comm erCe er Cham ber GreaTer sumT board sore d by The deve lopm enT 2013 | spon er eCon omiC and The sumT

Multiple Choices

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aT a GlanCe

Sumter, South Carolina
a quick, comPreHenSive overview of wHat’S great aBout tHe community





Pinewood Rimini


Pocalla Springs

Uncommon patriotism is a way of life in Sumter. The community’s history dates back to the American Revolution and the early patriots who fought for our nation’s freedom. Citizens here take pride in supporting military forces including Shaw Air Force Base, home of the 20th Fighter Wing, which hosts the 9th Air Force, US CENTAF and the Third Army, all in Sumter. busTlinG CommuniTy Annual events such as the Iris Festival – South Carolina’s oldest continuous festival – bring the community together. Sumter has picturesque parks, historic homes and public artwork. During the summer, the city hosts weekly musical events, and each fall residents take to the streets during the Sumter-Shaw Street Fest to salute the men and women stationed at Shaw Air Force Base. The city offers casual and elegant restaurants, local shops and specialty stores, art galleries, and museums. The Sumter Opera House is the focal point of the downtown area and hosts live performances and movie nights. Warm summers and mild winters make going outdoors pleasant year round. There are 26 parks in Sumter, an aquatics center, skate park and tennis center. ThrivinG business ClimaTe Sumter’s economy is strong and growing. Large manufacturing companies like Continental Tire, Caterpillar and Kaydon have found Sumter to be the optimum community for business. A business-friendly environment, as well as proximity to major shipping ports and four interstates make Sumter a tactical opportunity. Continued population growth has helped small businesses expand and kept home values stable. Come experience Sumter.


Sumter is located in the Midlands region of South Carolina, approximately 45 miles east of Columbia, the state capital. L. Marion

Sumter County, 107,570 City of Sumter, 40,524

Time zone

disTanCes To Three major CiTies nearby
Charleston, 101 miles Charlotte, 110 miles Atlanta, 258 miles

annual rainfall


National Average: 30”

for more informaTion

Greater Sumter Chamber of Commerce
32 East Calhoun Street Sumter, SC 29150 phone: (803) 775-1231

named one of the “top 10 Places to retire” by Retirement Lifestyle Magazine



“recovery,” a sculpture by grainger mckoy, is located at Swan lake iris gardens. the sculpture is a wing of a pintail duck during its most vulnerable moment in flight.

“Recovery” at Swan Lake Iris Gardens

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tHinGS tO DO
Sumter’s must-do attractions, activities and dining

Paint, Draw, Create

Hone your artistry skills at the Sumter County Gallery of Art by taking one of the many classes and workshops available. Participants can enroll in courses focused on painting, drawing, jewelry making, pottery and calligraphy.

Live Performances

Outdoor Entertainment

Water Sports


eXperienCe The CulTure
Visit patriot hall to enjoy cultural events and see a variety of performers from around the world take the stage such as the Moscow State Symphony of Russia, the Ballet de Monte Carlo, the Charleston Ballet and the Atlanta Symphony.

have a blasT
Watch airplanes from shaw air force base and other bases in the region practice bombing runs at Poinsett Bombing Range. Covering 12,500 acres, the range includes simulated buildings, missile sites, tanks and more to create a realistic training environment.

paddle around
Head to sparkleberry swamp, located in the headwaters of lake marion, to kayak or canoe while surrounded by cypress and gum trees. Paddlers are likely to see wildlife such as herons, water turkeys, wood ducks, otters, deer and more.

Go, fiGhT, win!
When autumn comes, participate in a popular Friday night pastime by going to a high school football game at one of Sumter’s schools such as Crestwood high, lakewood high, sumter high, wilson hall and Thomas sumter academy.



ThinGs To do

enjoy a game of tennis at the Palmetto tennis Center, which is home to 24 tennis courts. the facility is open to the public daily at no cost and includes ball machines, a pro shop and other amenities.

Swing a Racket

Outdoor Beauty



Soda Shop

relaX and reCharGe
Admire a beautiful lake and explore a 150-acre garden at swan lake-iris Gardens, which is open to the public free of charge. Visitors can see eight species of swans as well as flowers such as azaleas, day lilies and Japanese magnolias.

spin your wheels
Grab a bike and gear up for a ride with the sumter Chain Gang. The group meets on Tuesday and Thursday evenings at 6 p.m., as well as on Saturdays at 8 a.m., and cycles for approximately two hours. Typically, club members cover about 25 to 30 miles.

Take a ride
Stretching through Sumter and Clarendon counties and covering more than 28,000 acres, manchester state forest is ideal for both horseback riding and motorcycle jaunts. The forest is home to nearly 15 trails that span more than 75 miles.

sTep baCk in Time
Indulge in a milkshake, sip a soda or enjoy a hot cup of coffee at sumter Cut rate drugs & Coffee shop, which is one of the oldest drug stores in town. The shop also offers a menu that includes beef brisket, barbecue, chicken salad and other items.

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ThinGs To do

A Welcoming



Historic Home

located on west calhoun Street near memorial Park, this historic home is part of the Porches of Sumter event.



front porch on north Salem avenue

Porches of Sumter

Sumter resident flo arrington owns one of the featured houses on the Porches of Sumter tour. the tour, which takes place annually in october, is sponsored by the greater Sumter chamber of commerce.

estled in the land between South Carolina’s majestic mountains and sandy beaches lies Sumter, a charming community that’s easy to find and hard to leave. Incorporated in 1845 and named for Gen. Thomas Sumter (an American Revolutionary War hero), Sumter is the hometown of 42,700 friendly folks who have a reputation for making visitors and newcomers feel right at home.
“People take you under their wing pretty quickly,” says Nancy Lee Zimpleman, vice president of membership development for the Greater Sumter Chamber of Commerce. “I came here 11 years ago from Louisiana, and immediately felt like I was part of a large family. There are always things to do, people to encourage you to attend, and you immediately feel welcomed.” porChes of sumTer evenT Every October, the Greater Sumter Chamber of Commerce sponsors a community-building event called Porches of Sumter in the historic neighborhood surrounding Memorial Park. It allows ticket holders to walk from front porch to front porch in the historic district while mingling with homeowners and sampling foods prepared by homeowners, caterers and chefs.
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memorial Park is downtown in Sumter’s historic district.

“It’s like a neighborhood block party. You can visit the houses in any order and stroll at your leisure, We say, ‘Make new friends, and catch up with old ones.’ Some participants tell us they never make it to all the homes because they get so caught up talking with old friends.”
nanCy lee zimpleman, viCe PreSiDent oF memBerSHiP DeveloPment

Sumter’s historic district includes tree-lined streets and sidewalks.



this front porch on west calhoun Street provides plenty of seating for visitors during Porches of Sumter.

“It’s like a neighborhood block party. You can visit the houses in any order and stroll at your leisure,” Zimpleman says. “We say, ‘Make new friends, and catch up with old ones.’ Some participants tell us they never make it to all the homes because they get so caught up talking with old friends.” Sumter native Kay Rhoads and her husband Dusty live in a 1937 Colonial Revival home on Calhoun Street and have participated in Porches of Sumter for the past two years. “We thoroughly enjoy the event,” says Rhoads, a “semiretired” college administrator who owns an antique shop on Main Street called la bella vita. “People are always curious about old houses, and Porches of Sumter gives them the opportunity to walk the streets around Memorial Park and get a feel for the way Sumter was 50 or 60 years ago. It’s a very creative activity that brings the community together and

showcases our historic district at the same time.” Ten historic homes participated in the 2012 Porches of Sumter Event, with homeowners serving Southern favorites such as shrimp creole, she-crab soup, and shrimp and grits. Rhoads served her specialty – Carolina Caviar. “It’s a marinated black-eyed pea salad with a humorous name,” Rhoads says with a laugh. hearT of sumTer neiGhborhood assoCiaTion Porches of Sumter wraps up at Memorial Park with desserts provided by the Heart of Sumter Neighborhood Association. The association includes 500 homes and has 125 active families who live in the historic district between Miller, Broad, Washington, Liberty and Guignard streets. “Sumter is still largely a handshake city – the people are friendly and welcoming,”

says Billy Taylor, who serves as president of the Heart of Sumter Neighborhood Association. “Lots of people are involved in Sumter, and the city is becoming revitalized, which will help the upcoming young workers.” Porches of Sumter is one of many events that foster a sense of community in the city. Heart of Sumter sponsors an annual Art in the Park event in October, where about 25 local artists gather at Memorial Park to show and sell their work such as pottery and paintings. In the spring, the Sumter Symphony presents a free concert in the park, and residents come with their picnic baskets to enjoy the music. “There are always a ton of fun events happening in Sumter,” Zimpleman says, “whether it’s a concert, a festival or classic movies at the Opera House.” by Jessica Mozo by staff photographer Martin B. Cherry
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ThinGs To do

window shopping in downtown Sumter



Go downtown
umter’s civic pride shines in the revitalized historic streets of downtown and in the fun entertainment and events offered. This reinvestment in downtown has been a true public and private effort that locals say has paid off in a big way.
downTown sumTer’s new vision Behind the aggressive revitalization project, which includes street and landscape improvements, building renovations and in some cases new construction, is the City of Sumter’s vision of downtown as a “symbolic and functional heart of both the city and the county.” “Having a lively downtown brings about a great quality of life for our community,” says Howie Owens, downtown development manager for the City of Sumter, “and the wonderful concerts and events provide a fantastic atmosphere for you to spend time with friends and family.” Attorney Wade Kolb made one of the first reinvestments in downtown when he renovated a two-story building on North Main Street which was originally constructed in the early 1900s. The building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and the remodeling was certified and approved by both the National Park Service and the South Carolina Department of Archives and History. “The city has done a good job of promoting downtown development,” Kolb says. “They are improving the parking lots, adding landscaping and lighting, and getting rid


downtown Sumter is growing and thriving.

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downtown Sumter’s west liberty Street

of the old buildings that are beyond repair.” Along with Kolb, Harold Nixon jumped on the revitalization bandwagon early on by tearing down a defunct building and replacing it with his Xerox Digital Office Equipment location. It was built to look like a historic building. Near Kolb’s building, Greg Thompson renovated two buildings, moving his Thompson Construction Group’s corporate headquarters into one of them in 2010 and opening Hamptons restaurant in the other. Thompson also created downtown living space by renovating apartments in a building just a block off Main Street. “As a community, we have succeeded in making great strides over the past years,” says Thompson, who also chairs the Sumter Development Board. “I strongly believe that the best is yet to come.” where sumTeriTes Go for enTerTainmenT Downtown Friday Nights celebrate summer every Friday evening beginning in May and continuing through September. Live music is featured on Main Street, at the City Centre Terrace and at Rotary Plaza, a project of the local Rotary clubs that celebrated Rotary International’s 100th anniversary in 2005. Movie buffs will love classic movie nights at the Opera House. The historic theater also presents live shows including plays, dance and music performances. Pairing a show with a meal at one of the many downtown eateries makes a great night on the town. The Main Street area hosts a variety of dining choices. Cafe on Main’s menu lists soups, salads, sandwiches and dinner plates, Serendipity features “meat-andthree”-style soul food, Hamptons’ Southern cuisine showcases local seasonal ingredients and regional foods, and Angel’s offers a variety Mexican dishes.

a statue of thomas Sumter stands on the courthouse’s front lawn.



Main Street

Beau graham Square in downtown Sumter features a waterfall, a bronze swan and seasonal paintings.

West Hampton Aven



workinG in downTown sumTer A vibrant downtown workforce keeps the sidewalks bustling and downtown vendors busy. Large downtown employers include Tuomey Healthcare System and the City of Sumter offices, located in the City Center. Sitting on a renovated Main Street corner where an auto parts store once stood is the new, state-of-the-art facility for Central Carolina Technical College’s Health Sciences Center. “Downtown looks a lot better than it used to,” says Kolb, who has had a downtown business presence for almost 10 years. “And the economics have improved, too.” by Cyndie Todd by staff photographer Martin B. Cherry

opera House

West liberty Street South Sumter Street
cafe on main

east liberty Street

cut rate

Dugan Street


Caldwell Street

South Harvin Street

main Street

Locally Owned and Operated for 60 Years

Serving You at theSe LocationS:
114 e. calhoun St. 803.775.4712 1455 S. guignard Pkwy. (hwy. 15 S.) 803.778.5752 1011 Broad St. 803.773.6011 343 Pinewood rd. 803.773.2370 36 Sunset Dr. Manning, Sc 803.433.2118

ThinGs To do: LoCAL FLAVoR

Sumptuous Sumter
By Cyndie Todd
International Cuisine

local reStaurantS offer a variety of cHoiceS Tempting culinary choices abound in Sumter’s local restaurant scene. From traditional Southern cuisine to foreign flavors, downtown menus provide a variety that will please any palate.

Southern Food

TreaT your TasTebuds To a new flavor
International flavors found in Sumter include angel’s mexican restaurant, with traditional Mexican food and margaritas at two locations (downtown and Pike West Road), and kobe japanese steak house and sushi bar, where highly trained chefs entertain guests by preparing their dinner as they watch at a genuine hibachi grill.

TradiTional favoriTes
serendipity – nicknamed “The Dip” – is Dee Green’s cafe and catering service. Her “meatand-three”-style menu offers fresh, homemade traditional dishes, with specialties like Jamaican oxtails and chicken with red velvet waffles. Cafe on main chef and owner Hugh B. China calls his breakfast and lunch offerings “food for the soul,” and uses fresh, local, seasonal ingredients. The menu changes with the seasons and includes vegetarian and glutenfree choices. China keeps the doors open Friday nights to serve dinner with live music. Convenient to the USC Sumter campus, mary ann’s deli dishes up its popular pasta and chicken salads, deli style subs, sandwiches and soups. Call in for quick takeout or order at the counter and seat yourself. Family Restaurants

miX food wiTh fun
At rascal’s, Sumter’s only restaurant with on-site batting cages, diners will find a “familyoriented atmosphere with Christian values.” Its menu is packed with varieties of burgers, hot dogs, sandwiches, and 39 flavors of scooped ice cream. duncan dogs owners Mia and Monte Duncan – graduates from the Hot Dog University of Chicago – feature Nathan’s Famous Hot Dogs, homemade desserts, and milkshakes from scooped ice cream.
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chef Jeff dennis serves up Southern-style cooking with his own cajun kick at Simply Southern Bistro. offering burgers and fries, prime rib, desserts and more, this restaurant is a local favorite.

Simply Southern Bistro


ThinGs To do: ARTS & CULTURE

Artistry Overflows

Sumter featureS live PerformanceS, feStivalS, muSeumS and more Sumter’s residents stay busy thanks to plenty of fun activities that take place throughout the year, as well as engaging attractions and activities that are located all over the city. Here’s a look at some of the exciting cultural opportunities Sumter has to offer. By Jessica Mozo
Local Landmark Festivals

swan lake iris Gardens
Bask in the beauty of nature at Sumter’s swan lake iris Gardens, the only public park in the United States that features all eight swan species. The shiny black waters of Swan Lake provide a striking backdrop for its many islands bursting with colorful irises, camellias, azaleas, day lilies and Japanese magnolias. The floral wonderland is visited by more than 250,000 people annually and has become a haven for wildlife.

sumTer CelebraTes
Sumter County citizens know how to throw a party – and they do it often. Sumter’s long-running iris festival is held every May and features a flower show, crowning of the Iris Festival king and queen, concerts and more. From May through September, people flock to downtown Sumter to enjoy downtown friday nights, which take place three out of four Fridays per month and include concerts, movies and more. Also taking place in September, the sumter shaw street fest salutes the men and women stationed at nearby Shaw Air Force Base with a huge street festival. Each october, downtown Sumter hosts the Halloween on Main festival for costumed kids and pets. December finds Sumter celebrating the holiday season with the swan lake fantasy of lights, the largest free Christmas light display in the state, and the Sumter Poinsettia Festival that features a drive-through nativity, visits from Santa Claus and live local entertainment.

Live Performances

Sumter County Gallery of Art

paTrioT hall
patriot hall is a performing arts facility that is host to performances by local actors and musicians, cultural events, and conventions. Tours of Patriot Hall, which includes a 1,000seat auditorium, meeting rooms and more, can be arranged.

need a little artistic inspiration? Browse artwork by locally and nationally renowned artists at the Sumter County Gallery of Art. the gallery offers free tours by reservation and a gift shop filled with one-of-a-kind gifts and decorative items. art classes are available for kids, teens and adults in several different media, from pottery to basket-making.



the Sumter Opera House on main Street is often called the crown jewel of downtown Sumter. the historic opera house has been entertaining crowds in Sumter since it was built in the 1890s. today the building houses city Hall as well as city departments and offices. the first-floor auditorium, decorated in the art deco style, hosts local and national acts ranging from concerts and theater to dance and classic films. the 100-foot clock tower atop the richardson-romanesque style building is visible from much of downtown.

Opera House

Live Performances

sumTer liTTle TheaTre
The sumter little Theatre offers a variety of plays and musicals for all ages. Performances are held at the sumter County Cultural Center. The nonprofit group includes a youth theater, which allows children to participate in all aspects of stage performance including set building, costumes, makeup and acting. Museum

sumTer CounTy museum CompleX
Love history? Sumter County has a rich 300-year heritage you can relive with a visit to the sumter County museum complex. It is home to a collection of historic structures, more than 108,000 artifacts, and re-enactors who bring the county’s heritage to life. The museum campus includes the 1916 Williams-Brice House, the Genealogical and Historical Research Center, the Heritage Education Center, the Carolina Backcountry Homestead and the beautiful Martha Brice Gardens. The Carolina Backcountry Homestead hosts periodic living history events and includes a log cabin, smokehouse, barn, commissary, loomhouse, outhouse, blacksmith shop and gardens.

“Our favorite place is the Sumter Little Theatre. I’ve brought in people from New York, Illinois and Atlanta and they have all commented about how the production value was off-Broadway quality. There’s a very talented group of people there, and it’s not just the actors.”
ChuCk fienninG, 30-yeAr Sumter reSiDent

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Participation Recommended
recreational attractionS are Plentiful in Sumter Busy bodies can remain fit and active in Sumter thanks to the area’s several golf courses, parks, bodies of water and recreation centers. By Kevin Litwin
Water Activities

swim, fish, boaT, kayak
Make a splash at the City of sumter aquatics Center, which has a slide, wade pool entrance and fountain. The Aquatics Center has water aerobics classes, swim camps, lifeguard training and swim lessons. Sumter has fishing and boating opportunities including at lake marion and manchester state forest’s ponds and creeks. The northern end of the lake is known as sparkleberry swamp and is a popular place for canoeing and kayaking. poinsett state park features a lake with bass, bream and catfish. other popular places include high hills of the santee passage, lynches river and woods bay state natural area.

Golf Courses

Sumter has four golf courses within the city and approximately two dozen that are less than an hour’s drive away. Crystal lake Golf Course opened in 1990 as a nine-hole municipal facility and later expanded to 18 holes, and Sunset Country Club is a private, 18-hole, par 70 course that has been around since 1922. Sunset also has six tennis courts and a large pool.

“I formed the Sumter Tennis Association in 1999 because the city needed a premier tennis facility, and today Sumter is home to the beautiful Palmetto Tennis Center. It was named USTA Facility of the Year in 2004 when it opened, and I went to New York City that year to accept the award during the U.S. Open.”
raChel ward



the Sumter County recreation and Parks Department oversees 24 parks that accommodate boating, birding, hiking, biking, fishing and horseback riding. there are several walking trails including Cypress trail that is a scenic six-mile, natural-surface walking trail open daily from dawn until dusk. walking tracks are also in place at cherryvale community center, dillon Park, live oak Park, rembert-rafting creek community center, v.i.m. Park and wedgefield community Park. Tennis

Parks and Trails

2012 finalist for the U.S. Conference of Mayors’ City Livability Awards

palmeTTo Tennis CenTer
For tennis fans, palmetto Tennis Center has 24 lighted courts for night play and offers group clinics and private lessons. Meanwhile, senior citizens stay active in Sumter, too, because the Recreation and Parks Department sponsors Senior Fitness Days with competitive games of golf, track and field, horseshoes, basketball and table tennis.



Rebecca B. Compton, ASID, CKD
NCIDQ Certificate #9127

& B AT H

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Schools, health care, education and neighborhoods in Sumter



Sumter High School Homecoming

Sumter High School cheerleaders encourage the fighting gamecocks football team and rally the fans at the school’s annual homecoming game. the school’s football team, coached by Paul Sorrells, is part of the South carolina High School league 4a division i. See more photos that showcase Sumter’s unique offerings at

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he University of South Carolina Sumter has always been a two-year campus, but that is about to change, giving students here even more options when it comes to higher education goals.
enroll in regular daytime classes,” says Lynwood Watts, interim regional campus dean for USC Sumter. “Besides Sumter County residents, Palmetto College will be a viable option for students in our surrounding counties of Clarendon, Kershaw, Lee and Williamsburg.” University of South Carolina officials say the tuition rates for Palmetto College are expected to be about 10 percent lower than at USC’s main campus. Bachelor’s degrees in liberal studies, organizational leadership, criminal justice and health sciences will be offered by the fall of 2013. “Other plans include eventually adding business administration and elementary education,” Watts says. “It will be a nice convenience for area students to earn fouryear degrees from the University of South Carolina system without leaving Sumter.”

USC’s main campus in Columbia has announced the creation of a USC Palmetto College that will allow students to earn full four-year bachelor’s degrees at four of its satellite campuses. Those sites are USC Sumter, USC Lancaster, USC Salkehatchie and USC Union. Students can, for example, earn their associate degree at USC Sumter and then their bachelor’s degree from Palmetto College, all at the same Sumter campus. This will provide a four-year path without hiring new faculty or constructing new buildings. Palmetto College is scheduled to start in the fall of 2013. “The college will also allow students with two-year degrees to earn their bachelor’s degrees online, which is especially convenient for non-traditional students who work full time and can’t 28

uSC Sumter

a pre-med student conducts an experiment in a chemistry lab class at uSc Sumter. the school is creating a uSc Palmetto college that will be open in the fall of 2013.

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morris ColleGe and shaw afb Residents in Sumter County also have a number of other higher education options. There is Morris College, a historically black, liberal arts college operated by the Baptist Educational and Missionary Convention of South Carolina. Morris has bachelor’s degrees in majors such as business administration, Christian education, criminal justice, elementary education, health science and mass communication. Shaw Air Force Base provides courses and degree programs at the base from the University of South Carolina, Central Carolina Technical College, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Saint Leo University, Troy State University, Webster University and the University of Phoenix. The programs are available to Air Force personnel, family members, Department of Defense civilian employees, and community civilians. CenTral Carolina TeChniCal ColleGe At Central Carolina Technical College, the two-year institution recently opened a Health Sciences Center in downtown Sumter. The new building features simulation labs, lecture halls, meeting and study rooms, and viewing areas in addition to classrooms and offices. “We asked for the moon, and they tried to give it to us,” says Miriam Laney, dean of health sciences at CCTC. The CCTC Health Sciences Center has diploma programs that range from nursing to surgical technology, and certificate programs from phlebotomy to massage therapy. by Kevin Litwin by staff photographer Martin B. Cherry
learn more about higher education in Sumter at

Health Sciences Center at CCTC

central carolina technical college’s Health Sciences building in downtown Sumter features nearly 70,000 square feet of classrooms and laboratories equipped with the latest developments in medical technology. when studying childbirth, for example, students come face-to-face with a computerized gaumard simulator named noelle and her baby Hal.

robert e .





dS tre

uSc Sumter


dS tre

central carolina technical college


Calhoun Street

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north main Street

Bullman Drive


morris college


no r th ig a Gu rd ive Dr

livinG: HEALTH

Have Patients

tuomey giveS reSidentS multiPle HealtH-care cHoiceS The prognosis is positive for Sumter residents to receive top medical attention, thanks mainly to the variety of services provided under the umbrella of Tuomey Healthcare System. By Kevin Litwin
Cancer Treatment

CuTTinG-edGe Care
The Cancer Treatment Center at Tuomey Regional Medical Center is across the street from the hospital, and its radiation oncologists administer intensity-modulated radiotherapy, a cutting-edge treatment that only a few hospitals in the state provide. There is also an on-campus outpatient Surgery Center that has four operating rooms, one procedure room and 20 pre- and post-operative beds. one impressive feature is a HERMES voice control system that gives physicians direct control over surgical devices by using simple verbal commands.

Tuomey Regional Medical Center

the 301-bed hospital serves patients in every stage of life, from an infant’s first breath to end-of-life hospice care. tuomey regional medical Center treats more than 40,000 patients annually and features amenities such as 10 operating suites, an emergency department with 11 private treatment rooms, and a conference room that can seat up to 300 people. the hospital has more than 1,850 employees, including 150 physicians, which makes tuomey regional the largest non-industrial employer in Sumter county.

“Tuomey has recently taken major steps to make their emergency room experience as pleasant as possible. They have also done a good job focusing on bettering their health and wellness programs, with several initiatives in place to help improve healthy lifestyles of both young and old in Sumter County.”
joseph Tobiere



Long-Term Care

faCiliTies for elderly, alzheimer’s paTienTs
When living at home proves too difficult for elderly or terminally ill Sumter residents, they have plenty of options. hopewell healthcare Center, nhC healthcare and sumter east health & rehab Center are just a few of Sumter County’s long-term care facilities. other assisted living facilities available are mcelveen manor, a full-service senior and Alzheimer’s care facility, Sterling House, Covenant Place and Morningside of Sumter.

Assisted Alzheimer’s Care & Adult Day Care
Full Service 24-Hour Staff

Assisted Retired Living


• Adult Day Care Mon.-Fri.

• Three Balanced Daily Meals • Laundry Service • All Private Bedrooms and Bath • Transportation Arrangements • Daily Activities • Beauty Salon
Michele McElveen Flagler, RN VP/Administrator I

tuomey’s James e. Bell Jr. Women and infants Pavilion has 24 cozy inpatient rooms decorated to make patients feel at home, with comfortable furniture and ample space for in-room treatment and examinations. there are four separate nurseries with services such as high-risk incubators, customizable baby stations, breast-feeding rooms and lactation consultants, and wrist and ankle monitors for mothers and babies to ensure their security. the pavilion’s Baby central labor and delivery suites feature large windows, rocking chairs and extra-large baths and showers.

Women’s Services

• Respite • Secure Memory Units – Beginning Stage • Secure Alzheimer’s Units – Mid-to-Late Stages • Monitored Medications • Emergency Call System
Gobe and Patricia McElveen President and Secretary

Locally Owned and Operated

McElveen Manor
Shaye McElveen Administrator II

803-778-9690 • 803-773-1728
2065 McCray’s Mill Rd. • Sumter, SC 29154

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Grading Spaces

StudentS Have many academic oPtionS The leaders of tomorrow are being shaped and developed today in Sumter, where students have access to a number of top public schools and private academies. By Kevin Litwin
publiC sChools
Sumter County has long had two public school districts, but the South Carolina Legislature consolidated the two into one in July 2011. Today, the former sumter County school district Two and sumter school district 17 are unified as sumter school district, which comprises approximately 17,000 students. Randolph Bynum is the district’s superintendent who oversees grades pre-K through 12 along with about 3,000 staff members. There are 16 elementary schools, seven middle schools, three high schools, two alternative learning programs and an Early Head Start initiative. Advanced academic programs are available, and all high school students have the opportunity to take college-level courses through local higher education institutions including Central Carolina Technical College and the university of south Carolina sumter plus many others.

privaTe sChools
st. anne Catholic school teaches pre-K through eighth grade students. The school, which is known for its students scoring well on standardized achievement tests, teaches students to express themselves clearly and think critically. st. francis Xavier high school looks to attain high academic standards that are integrated with Catholic/Christian theology. The college preparatory curriculum encourages critical thinking to get graduates ready to pursue a four-year degree. sumter academy accommodates grades 5-12 and welcomes only 20-25 students so it can give each student an individualized curriculum. The school encourages participation in clubs and organizations such as First Priority, DARE, yearbook staff and event committees. Thomas sumter academy has a strong foundation in academia, plus invites students to participate in interscholastic athletics, fine arts and other extracurricular activities. The school is known as The Hill because of its location in the rolling hills of Santee. westside Christian academy has students in grades 1-8 and is a ministry of Westside Baptist Church. The staff works closely with parents in every aspect to train the whole child. wilson hall has 825 students in grades pre-K through 12 who are taught through a college preparatory curriculum in a family-like atmosphere.

Sumter Christian School

Sumter Christian School was founded in 1974 and enjoys a reputation for balanced excellence on a community, state and even national level. the school has grades k-4 through 12, and enrollment inquiries come from across the nation.



“Our daughter, Judith, enjoys the Sumter public school experience. I also like the public schools here, with some of my relatives having taught in public schools during their entire professional careers.”

Sumter High School

Part of Sumter School district, Sumter High School enrolls more than 2,000 students and is one of the top schools in the state. SHS is the area’s largest school, and in 2004, it was recognized as a national model School.




• Complete Cosmetology Training • Small Classes • Financial Aid for Those Who Qualify • Services Performed by Supervised Students • Continuing Education Classes

Lifestyle Options: • Independent Living • Assisted Living • Skilled Nursing Care • Secured Memory Care • Medicare Part A Short-Term Rehabilitation 2825 Carter Rd. Sumter, SC 29150 (830) 469-7007

Sumter’s Only Continuing Care Retirement Community

The Sumter Airport

Gateways to our community and your dreams of flight!

921 Carolina Ave. • Sumter, SC

(803) 773-7311 Accredited by COE Charter, Rental and Instruction 2945 Airport Rd. • Sumter, SC 29153 • 803-469-4639



COmmunity PrOFile
White Black Hispanic other

CosT of livinG

Median Household Income

Median Home Price

19 and Under 20-54 55 and over

Median Rent for a Two-Bedroom Apartment

TransporTaTion TemperaTure
January Average Low July Average High

Median Travel Time to Work

33° 31°

91° 76°

12 minutes
Closest Airport: Columbia Metropolitan Airport

January Low National Low

July High

National High

45 miles

This seCTion is sponsored by

Info on Sumter’s top employers, jobs and success stories



Kaydon Corporation

a kaydon corporation employee checks a machine at the company’s custom bearings operations facility in Sumter. kaydon corporation manufactures steel bearings for companies in markets such as heavy equipment, industrial machinery and medical systems. See more photos that showcase Sumter’s unique offerings at

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business: oVERVIEW

Business Savvy

SHaw afB, Pilgrim’S among Sumter’S largeSt emPloyerS Sumter has a diverse manufacturing base, as well as a pro-business climate, low-cost environment and skilled workforce, and its location appeals to businesses looking for ease of transportation. It is 45 miles east of the state capital of Columbia, and a short drive from Interstates 95, 20, 77 and 26. Sumter’s closest airport is the Sumter Airport, with commercial airports Florence Regional Airport and Columbia Metropolitan Airport about an hour’s drive away. By Jessica Mozo

Pilgrim’s Corp. is one of the largest industrial employers in the area. the fresh and frozen poultry company employs 2,150 workers at its Sumter county processing and prepared foods plant. one of the largest chicken companies in the u.S. and mexico, it processes more than 45 million chickens per week. tuomey Healthcare System, which comprises tuomey regional medical center (pictured above), is another major employer in Sumter, with more than 1,850 employees. Sumter School District, Becton Dickinson, Santee Printworks and eaton Corporation are also top employers in the area.

Major Employers in Sumter

Ranked 44th “best small metropolitan area” by Forbes magazine

Conservation Efforts

reduCe, reuse, reCyCle
Sumter takes pride in being environmentally responsible, and holds an Earth Day celebration annually in April to demonstrate what it means to “live green.” Local government programs recycle used motor oil, scrap metal, cardboard, plastic, paper, aluminum, steel, tires and glass. The City of Sumter has even developed a process for recycling wastewater and sludge into a low-grade organic fertilizer and soil conditioner called Poconite. The city creates roughly 2,000 tons of Poconite each year and sells it to golf courses that use it as fertilizer.



PHoto courteSy of Sumter develoPment Board

Business Spotlight
wally’s hardware
Wally’s Hardware is home to a broad selection of tools, camping supplies and items for the home. The store is open Monday-Friday from 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and on Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. (803) 469-8531

Shaw air force Base is Sumter’s top employer with almost 10,000 employees.

serendipiTy CaTerinG & Cafe
Serving Southern cuisine, Serendipity Catering & Cafe offers a daily menu and provides food for special events, as well as a balcony and loft that can be reserved for parties and banquets.

Military Operations

Downtown Revitalization

base boosTs eConomy
Being home to shaw air force base means great things for Sumter’s economy. Driving the local economy, the base is made up of 9,448 military and civilian employees and approximately 11,000 family members. In addition, it includes the Air Force’s largest combat F-16 wing – the 20th Fighter Wing – whose mission is to provide, protect and sustain combat-ready air forces. But Shaw Air Force Base is just the beginning. Sumter’s diverse employment base also includes manufacturing jobs, positions in the medical field, educators, service providers and more. Sumter is also home to the Third army, which comprises approximately 1,200 soldiers and 200 civilians. The Third Army arrived in Sumter in 2011 and has its headquarters on Shaw Air Force Base. Experts predict the Third Army will have a large economic impact on the community and will generate more than $120 million each year.

new downTown sCene draws residenTs
downtown sumter is becoming the place to see and be seen in Sumter, thanks to the city’s vision for a revitalized downtown core. Several downtown beautification projects are underway including streetscape, building renovations, and the development of several plazas that will feature picturesque fountains and new construction. Downtown living is also becoming popular in Sumter. The upper level of the historic Piedmont building on Caldwell Street is being converted into trendy apartments, and people are already heading downtown for shopping, dining and community events such as the downtown sumter farmers market and sumter’s winefest sip ’n’ stroll. learn more about the business climate in Sumter at

Cafe on main
Downtown Sumter’s Cafe on Main offers breakfast and lunch Monday through Friday, as well as a coffee bar. The eatery is also open for dinner on Friday nights and features live jazz music. (803) 774-8287

ems-Chemie norTh ameriCa
Ems-Chemie North America’s production plant and technical service center in Sumter creates hotmelt adhesives, fusible and separating yarns, adhesion promoters, epoxy systems, and other products.

piGGly wiGGly
With four locations in Sumter, Piggly Wiggly grocery stores provide fresh fruits and vegetables, high-quality meats, a variety of baked goods, a floral department, and more.
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Au’some LLC

an employee cleans packaging stations at au’some llc in Sumter, the company’s first facility in north america. the plant makes healthy fruit snacks and interactive candies.







t’s being called a “game changer” – a $534 million, 1,700 job announcement that promises to reshape the economy of Sumter County and its region for decades. When Continental Tire the Americas, headquartered in Fort Mill, S.C., picked Sumter for its new plant in 2011, local shock radiated into international ripples, with South Carolina projected as the new Rubber Capitol of the World.

ConTinenTal Tire likes sumTer’s ameniTies “Continental’s biggest impacts on our community are still over the horizon,” says Jay Schwedler, who serves as president and CEO of Sumter Economic Development. “But there’s no doubt that it will be a very major player in Sumter, not only economically, but also socially and culturally. Developments of this size have a way of changing the local landscape for the better.” Continental officials said they chose Sumter because it had the right plan, the right site, and the right people to

Packaging for au’some llc products

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make the company’s first North American tire plant a success. Specifically, the company cited Sumter County’s strong probusiness climate, skilled labor force, solid base of existing businesses, and strategic location for exporting tires around the world. eXisTinG indusTry base remains solid While the Continental announcement was easily the biggest single investment in Sumter County’s long manufacturing history, the German tire maker actually joined a vibrant industrial base in Sumter that continues to grow. 44

For instance, Caterpillar Inc. recently tripled the size of its hydraulic facility in Sumter’s Black River Airport Industrial Park. The $20 million, 80-job expansion of its hydraulic cylinders lines will make the Sumter facility one of the most important in its corporate division, and even more productive than its sister plants that are located in Mexico. “We are pleased to be increasing operations at our Sumter facility,” says Brian Mezei, Sumter facility manager for Caterpillar. “We have enjoyed a long-standing relationship with the Sumter community and appreciate the continued support of the state and

our local Sumter County partners.” Meanwhile, the Kaydon Corporation has expanded its manufacturing presence in Sumter County with a recent $8.9 million investment and 75 new jobs. The Michigan-based company makes bearings at two Sumter facilities. Sykes Enterprises Inc., a global leader in providing customer contact management solutions, established a major data center in Sumter Mall with a 150-job announcement in 2009. From those humble beginnings, the local operation has swelled to nearly 1,000 workers and become a corporate model.

“Sykes found an intelligent and hardworking labor pool in Sumter County, with people who seem to have hospitality and service in their DNA,” says Andrea B. Thomas, Sykes’ director of corporate communications. au’some llC is sweeT on sumTer In 2011, Au’some LLC, a maker of healthy fruit snacks and interactive candies, announced it would repurpose a shuttered auto parts facility into a state-of-the-art food operation, which will be its first location in North America. The $6 million investment will generate 120 new jobs over the next five years. “Sumter County provided us with an existing building to suit our needs, and South Carolina provides us with an excellent business environment and a talented workforce,” says David Tsu, chief executive of Au’some. Making progress in trying times doesn’t happen by accident. It only happens with the right mix of product, people and strategies. “In light of where the global and national economies have been the last several years, we’re pleased with the progress we’ve made in Sumter County,” Schwedler says. “Our existing industry base remains strong, competitive and growing.” by staff photographer Martin B. Cherry

Amenities: • Indoor Heated Pool • GYM • Free HOT Breakfast

Walking distance to: • IHOP (open 24 hours) • Applebee’s • Logan’s Roadhouse • Chili’s • Outback Steakhouse

2491 Broad St. • Sumter, SC 29150 Directly behind Applebee’s and IHOP Phone: (803) 469-6666





t’s being called $534 million, a “game changer ” – a 1,700 job announc that promise ement s of Sumter County to reshape the economy When Continen and its region for decades. headquartered tal Tire the America s, in Fort Mill, Sumter for S.C., picked its radiated into new plant in 2011, local shock internati Carolina projected onal ripples, with South as the new of the World. Rubber Capitol
An employee cleans packaging Sumter, which is the company’s stations at Au’some America. The LLC in plant manufactur first facility in North es fruit snacks and candy.



Au’some LLC



CONTINEN TAL TIRE LIKES SUMTER’S “Continenta AMENITIES still over the l’s biggest impacts on our community horizon,” says president and Jay are CEO of Sumter Schwedler, who serves there’s no doubt Economic Developme as that not only economical it will be a very major player nt. “But ly, but also in Sumter, Developme socially nts landscape for of this size have a way and culturally. of changing the better.” the local Continenta l officials said they chose Sumter because it


for Au’some

LLC products

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read it online or on your tablet and quickly share articles with friends.
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Visit Our adVertisers
Bioenergy Technologies Bright Beginnings Central Carolina Technical College City of Sumter Country Inn & Suites Covenant Place EMS – Chemie Gallery 406 Interiors Greater Sumter Chamber of Commerce Kaydon Corporation McElveen Manor Morris College NBSC – a division of Synovus Bank On Eagles’ Wings Inc. Palmetto Pointe Apartments & Townhomes Piggly Wiggly Prudential – John M. Brabham Real Estate Sumter Beauty College Inc. Sumter County Sumter Development Board Sykes Enterprises Inc. Thompson Construction Group University of South Carolina Sumter Webster University

Sumter South Carolina
editor | mitch Kline contributing writers | John Fuller, Jessica mozo, Cyndie todd content coordinator | Jessica Walker Staff writer | Kevin litwin Proofreading manager | raven Petty lead designer | Kacey Passmore Senior graphic designers | Stacey Allis, laura Gallagher, Kris Sexton, Jake Shores, vikki Williams graphic designers | erica lampley, Kara leiby creative technology analyst | Becca Ary lead Photographer | martin B. Cherry Senior Photographers | Jeff Adkins, Brian mcCord Staff Photographers | todd Bennett, michael Conti color imaging technician | Alison Hunter integrated media manager | Kari Quill Sales Support Project manager | Sara Quint ad Production manager | Katie middendorf ad traffic assistants | Krystin lemmon, Patricia moisan web Project manager | David Day web development lead | yamel Hall web developer i | nels noseworthy web designer ii | richard Stevens web Product manager | John Hood digital Project manager | Jill ridenour chairman | Greg thurman President/Publisher | Bob Schwartzman executive vice President | ray langen Senior v.P./Sales | todd Potter Senior v.P./client development | Jeff Heefner Senior v.P./operations | Casey Hester v.P./Sales | Jarek Swekosky v.P./content operations | natasha lorens audience development director | Deanna nelson creative Services director | Christina Carden distribution director | Gary Smith Photography director | Jeffrey S. otto web Services director | Allison Davis controller | Chris Dudley Senior accountant | lisa owens accounts Payable coordinator | maria mcFarland accounts receivable coordinator | Diana Guzman it director | Daniel Cantrell executive Secretary | Kristy Duncan Human resources manager | Peggy Blake receptionist | linda Bishop

2013 eDitiOn

vOlume 3

Livability: Sumter, South Carolina is published annually by Journal Communications inc. and is distributed through the Greater Sumter Chamber of Commerce and its member businesses. For advertising information or to direct questions or comments about the magazine, contact Journal Communications inc. at (615) 771-0080 or by email at For more information, contact: greater Sumter chamber of commerce 32 East Calhoun Street • Sumter, SC 29150 Phone: (803) 775-1231 visit Livability: Sumter, South Carolina online at ©Copyright 2012 Journal Communications inc., 725 Cool Springs Blvd., Suite 400, Franklin, tn 37067, (615) 771-0080. All rights reserved. no portion of this magazine may be reproduced in whole or in part without written consent. member member the Association of magazine media Custom Content Council

member Greater Sumter Chamber of Commerce



business: CHAMBER REPoRT

Work in Progress
Small business members will get a big helping hand from the Greater Sumter Chamber of Commerce during 2013. Joseph Tobiere, the Chamber’s chairman, and other leaders have helped organize a Greater Sumter Chamber Small Business Council that comprises real estate agents, financial experts, city government representatives and planning commission officials. The council is examining what the chamber is doing to help small businesses throughout the Sumter region, and what needs to be improved. “Of our 1,100 chamber members, about 85-90 percent are businesses with 25 or fewer employees, which is how we categorize small businesses,” says Grier Blackwelder, Chamber president. “The council has been established to assist those members in any way possible, whether they have personnel issues, need accounting help, want marketing advice or anything else.” The business of business One of the biggest occurrences is the establishment of a Small Business Development Center, which is housed at the University of South Carolina Sumter campus. The SBDC director is Jim Giffin. “The Greater Sumter region has been without a Small Business Development Center for the past eight years and it was greatly needed, so the state and federal government helped fund our new SBDC,” Blackwelder says. “The SBDC can assist small business entrepreneurs and existing owners in a variety of areas.” websiTe adviCe In addition to the SBDC, the Greater Sumter Chamber has also added a Business Resources section to its website, which is at

cHamBer lookS to HelP all Small BuSineSSeS
“It has information on starting a business, operating a business, moving a business, and other helpful links,” says Nancy Lee Zimpleman, vice president of membership development for the Chamber. “It covers areas such as making a business plan, financing, permits and licensing, insurance, and commercial development.” Zimpleman adds that the chamber offers a free brochure at its East Calhoun Street office. “Our brochure, our Business Resources website section, and visiting the Small Business Development Center – all are excellent ways for small businesses to access information,” she says. by Kevin Litwin

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eCOnOmiC PrOFile

City Sales and Use Tax

County Sales Tax

eduCaTion level
High School Graduate Associate Degree Bachelor’s Degree Master’s Degree

State Sales Tax

household inCome
$200,000+ $30,000-$199,000 $29,000 and under

Total Sales Tax


Top employers
2,000+ Pilgrim’s Pride Corporation Eaton Electrical, BD Preanalytical Solutions, Santee Print Works Cooper Tools, Color-Fi Inc., Interlake Material Handling, Glasscock Company, Caterpillar Precision Pins, Kaydon Corporation


Annual Retail Sales

Annual Hotel and Food Sales

1,999500 499200

Columbia metropolitan airport sumter municipal airport
(803) 469-4639

Total Number of Firms

florence regional airport

This seCTion is sponsored by

Ad Index
C3 Bioenergy TeChnologies C3 BrighT Beginnings 35 CenTral Carolina TeChniCal College 1 CiTy of sumTer 45 CounTry inn & suiTes 36 CovenanT PlaCe 30 ems – Chemie 25 gallery 406 inTeriors 6 greaTer sumTer ChamBer of CommerCe 47 Kaydon CorPoraTion 33 mCelveen manor C4 morris College 30 nBsC – a division of synovus BanK 36 on eagles’ Wings inC. 5 PalmeTTo PoinTe aParTmenTs & ToWnhomes 20 Piggly Wiggly 7 PrudenTial – John m. BraBham real esTaTe 36 sumTer BeauTy College inC. 3 sumTer CounTy 6 sumTer develoPmenT Board 2 syKes enTerPrises inC. C2 ThomPson ConsTruCTion grouP 37 universiTy of souTh Carolina sumTer 48 WeBsTer universiTy

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