March 2019

A Note From Our Mayors

Author: John McCann, Lisa Sulka | Photographer: Krisztian Lonyai, M.Kat Photography

A Note from John McCann
USCB Campus Opens World of Opportunities for All

For all, the new University of South Carolina Beaufort’s Hilton Head Island campus opens a world of opportunities. Students who will matriculate at this beautiful facility have access to the most advanced learning environment that will equip them with skills for careers in hospitality management. And because you’re never too old to learn, baby boomers can dig into a wide range of subjects through the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute that meets at the campus. Our Hilton Head Island Town Council has hosted several meetings at the campus, allowing me to experience its vibrant atmosphere. I must say we really have something to be proud of, especially as I look back over the many months it took to bring this $24 million facility to fruition and remember the dedication and energy of many individuals who worked to make this happen.

We have a longstanding relationship with USCB, which had a presence on the island many years ago before moving its classes to the mainland. In 2012, the town partnered with USCB to form the Center for Event Management and Hospitality Training, thus paving the way for USCB’s eventual return to Hilton Head Island. At this point, school and town leaders began talking about the foreseeable future of USCB on the island and how it could be a boost to an area that needed revitalization.

We owe much credit to former USCB Chancellor Jane Upshaw, Town Manager Steve Riley and former Mayor Drew Laughlin, who were the main drivers behind the movement for USCB to once again have a strong presence on Hilton Head Island. It was a natural fit since many of the USCB hospitality management students were already completing internships on the island, and the new facility would be designed for hotel, restaurant and tourism education. Additionally, the idea of a new campus aligned with the town’s goals of redeveloping the original Hilton Head Island commercial areas.

Now, seven years later, we have a beautiful campus that serves as a cornerstone to spur redevelopment and successfully prepare students for careers in the hospitality and tourism industry that directly impacts our island economy. According to the Hilton Head Island-Bluffton Chamber of Commerce, nearly three million people visited the island in 2017 and had a $1.49 billion impact on our economy. Tourists, as well as our residents, patronize our hotels, restaurants, shopping centers, and other businesses. And, in doing so, they expect the highest level of customer service. Enter USCB. There, nestled amidst lush trees on the new Sand Shark Drive off Office Park Road, students will learn how to put their best foot forward and take advantage of exciting internships that our local businesses plan to offer.

This semester, for instance, USCB has partnered with Local Pie, Sea Pines Resort, Palmetto Dunes, The Whiskey Room and Spring Island to help students acquire food and beverage knowledge and skills. Campus Dean Charlie Calvert is working with Chef Miles Huff, dean of Culinary Institute of the South at Technical College of the Lowcountry (TCL), on an agreement that will allow TCL culinary institute students to transfer to USCB upon completion of their two-year degree.

Another very special benefit is that this new USCB campus is here for the community to use and enjoy. The Town Council hosted its annual workshop there last December, followed by a council meeting in January. We look forward to hosting more meetings there in the future. I predict that USCB’s new campus, as it welcomes the community of students and learners and serves as host to many wonderful events, will become a central hub for activities on Hilton Head Island.


A Note from Lisa Sulka
Come See our Newly Renovated Town Hall

Before I begin my monthly column, I want to welcome Mayor John McCann. It is a pleasure to work with him on all of our regional projects, and I look forward to reading his articles in this fabulous magazine. As we move forward into the new year, the Town of Bluffton is continually planning projects to enhance and strengthen our community and provide a high quality of life for all residents. This month, the renovated Town Hall will be unveiled, and I hope you are as proud of it as I am.

The new Town Hall has several new functions for the public such as a centralized customer service center and a new Town Council chambers, which will also be used for municipal court. The new Town Hall will be 29,233 square feet and will accommodate our staff and public meetings for years to come.

A Lowcountry architecture theme was interwoven into the renovations featuring wood floors, sliding “barn” doors for large rooms, and a modern, open-space concept. Palmetto Bluff’s architecture inspired the new Town Hall, which provides for modern amenities while blending into the Lowcountry’s natural aesthetics.

In addition to informing you of the completion of our new facility, I want to remind you of several calendar items coming up throughout the year so you can plan to be a part of more town discussions, events and activities:

April Arbor Day. The town will host a public event with the planting of new trees.
April 27 May River Cleanup/Oyster Factory Park.
May 11 Bluffton Village Festival, sponsored by the Bluffton Rotary Club, is always the Saturday before Mother’s Day and will be held in the Historic District.
May Historic Preservation Symposium/date and location to be announced.
September 11 The town will host a September 11 Remembrance Ceremony.
September 21 Beach/River Sweep; Bluffton will participate in a statewide cleanup of its waterways.
October 12-20 The Historic Bluffton Arts & Seafood Festival, a multi-week event celebrating Bluffton’s culture of history, art and seafood will be held in Bluffton’s Historic District.
November: Bluffton’s American Legion Post 205 will host a Veterans Day Parade throughout the Historic District.
December 7 Bluffton’s Christmas Parade is the first Saturday of December, and there is no entry fee. (Sign up via the town’s website.) The parade will be held rain or shine. Tree Lighting will be held the Friday prior to the parade.

To stay informed of the town’s events, activities and meetings, please sign up to receive our media releases and meeting notices. Click “Subscribe to our mailing list,” located in the righthand corner on the homepage of the town’s website: We also welcome you at all Town Council meetings, which are held the second Tuesday of each month at 6 p.m. at Town Hall.

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