Justice News

Department of Justice
Office of Public Affairs

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, July 20, 2009
Department of Justice Announces Palmetto Project to Expand Training and Operations at the National Advocacy Center

Deputy Attorney General David W. Ogden today announced plans by the Department of Justice to significantly expand its training and education operations at the National Advocacy Center (NAC), the core training facility for local, state and federal attorneys, law enforcement agents and support personnel.  

As part of the Palmetto Project – as it is known – the Department of Justice will lease approximately 326,000 square feet of space at the Close-Hipp Building adjacent to the NAC to enhance the training capabilities for the Department and consolidate operations and staff for the Executive Office of the United States Attorneys. The facility, located at the University of South Carolina (USC), will also house new state-of-the-art courtrooms, classrooms, and meeting space for seminars and large scale conferences. 

"What we will build here will serve the cause of justice for generations to come," said Ogden, who made the announcement alongside Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), university President Harris Pastides, Director of EOUSA H. Marshall Jarrett and U.S. Attorney for the District of South Carolina W. Walter Wilkins at a press conference at the NAC. 

"This project was years in the making and took the work of many dedicated staff.  The result will greatly enhance our existing presence at the NAC and will enable the University to relocate and expand its business school currently housed in the Close-Hipp building," Ogden said.

The move will bring more than 250 high-paying jobs to Columbia and provide an estimated cost savings of $42.8 million to the Department for the 20-year period of the lease.

Congress approved the relocation of several components and functions of EOUSA.  The Department and USC will modify their existing Cooperative Agreement to proceed with the Project, which will take four years to complete.

 "This agreement is the winning combination for both the Department of Justice and the University of South Carolina.  It is a wise collaboration that will save the taxpayer money and benefit the university in the years to come," said Senator Graham. "I wish we saw more visionary collaborations like this one between the federal government and outside institutions." 

University of South Carolina President Harris Pastides said the announcement represents a tremendous gain for the university and the community by allowing the university to move forward to build a new business school building.

"We are thrilled to announce our intent to build a new building. The teaching, learning and research, along with the Moore School's vast array of seminars and conferences that draw visitors from around the world, will help build the intellectual foundation of this school," Pastides said.

" The training and services we provide in this facility are critical to the day-to-day successes of our prosecutors in our nation’s courtrooms," said Jarrett. "The result of this expansion will be that our attorneys are better trained, more professional, and better equipped to fight crime and serve justice." 

In addition to leasing the Close-Hipp building, the Department is expected to lease approximately 365 parking spaces from the university.

Monday’s announcement expands the relationship between the University of South Carolina and the Department that began nearly 15 years ago. In 1996, the Department announced plans to build the NAC on the university campus. That $26 million facility, which opened in 1998, has trained more than 170,000 federal and state personnel from around the country over the last dozen years and is named for former U.S. Sen. Ernest F. "Fritz" Hollings.

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