Several construction projects are under way on FIU campuses and significant enhancements are being made to existing facilities geared toward supporting the success of FIU’s 54,000 students and enhancing FIU’s role as a solutions center for the community.
“We recently completed two major research and classroom buildings at MMC and have just broken ground on a much-anticipated $30.9 million Student Academic Support Center, that will house key services that benefit all of our students,” said Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer Kenneth Jessell. “At the same time we have made investments in several existing buildings that will extend their life and functionality well into the future.”
Each of these renovation projects has had a high impact on the university community and the quality of the student experience.
Just as students were moving into new student housing at the Modesto Maidique Campus, work was going on at existing facilities: Panther Hall received a complete interior renovation and a new generator was installed. University Apartments were partially renovated, including new furniture. At Everglades Hall and Lake View new security cameras were installed. The WiFi was upgraded in all the housing facilities and a new nature preserve track was built. The total cost for all of this work is nearly $4 million. Additionally, work is currently under way to install a card access security system in student housing.
Significant renovations have also been made in two libraries: The common spaces at the College of Law library at Diaz Balart Hall at MMC were renovated and a new computer lab was installed. State-of-the-art upgrades were also made to the second floor of the Glenn Hubert Library at BBC, where 65 workstations and a laptop bar were installed to facilitate student collaboration. Investments in the libraries were more than $1 million.
The student lounge at the Wolfe University Center at BBC, dubbed Panther Square, was renovated to provide a better space for students to congregate and study. In addition, a new iconic panther sculpture was installed in Panther Plaza, right outside Panther Square. The sculpture, designed to inspire tradition and pride, is similar to one installed at MMC. The entire project had a cost of $3.2 million.
Significant renovations also have been made to the FIU Arena at MMC, which two years ago was given a new lobby, facade and plaza, featuring a large bronze panther sculpture.The second phase of arena renovations, currently under way, include reinforcements to the roof structure that will allow for more elaborate events in that venue, as well as the replacement of the floor. The floor was damaged during an external event, and repairs will be covered by the organizer’s insurance. Another athletic facility, the softball field, was improved with a new grandstand, which increased the seating capacity. The total cost of renovations to athletic facilities is more than $8 million.
The second-oldest building on campus, DM, received a much-needed facelift to its courtyard. The new Sky Lounge was designed by architecture students and the construction cost was $270,000.
Improvements were made to the Engineering Center, which now has a new entrance that provides better access to the building, as well as a remodeled student lounge, at a total cost of $650,000.
The food court areas in the student unions at both campuses were renovated and new food options were added. Food court renovations in the Graham Center, at MMC and the Wolfe University Center, at BBC exceeded $4 million.
In the coming year, the Graham Center will also feature a new family restroom, designed to serve students who bring their small children to campus, as well as transgender students, faculty and staff, and others who may feel more comfortable in a more private setting. Several family restrooms already exist in several of the student housing buildings. Existing Graham Center restrooms also will be renovated. The cost of this project is expected to be $125,000
A new entrance to MMC is being planned at 117th Avenue and Southwest 12th Street, with construction to start in September 2015. This entrance will provide a new way to access and exit campus, which is expected to help alleviate traffic congestion. This project is budgeted at $1.5 million.
Additionally, Argosy, the iconic red sculpture at the entrance on 107th Avenue and Southwest 16th Street, will be re-painted and maintained in the coming weeks, at a cost of $65,000.
“Even as we look to grow and build new facilities, it is important to constantly maintain and upgrade existing facilities,” said Jessell, who noted that FIU has the smallest campus and the second largest student population in the state. “Our buildings, especially our classrooms, are some of the busiest in the entire State University System and all that use necessitates disciplined upkeep.”
In the past two years, renovation projects on all campuses total $45.5 million.
Earlier this month Miami-Dade voters approved FIU’s bid to expand into public land just south of MMC. The expansion is expected to bring an initial economic impact of $1.8 billion and an additional annual recurring economic impact of $541 million to South Florida, above the $8.9 billion FIU already provides.
Possible uses for the land are additional academic space, including for the College of Engineering and Computing; research space; academic health center space; an incubator to support entrepreneurship; student housing and other support space.
Florida International University is recognized as a Carnegie engaged university. It is a public research university with colleges and schools that offer more than 180 bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral programs in fields such as engineering, international relations, architecture, law and medicine. As one of South Florida’s anchor institutions, FIU contributes $9.8 billion each year to the local economy. FIU is Worlds Ahead in finding solutions to the most challenging problems of our time. FIU emphasizes research as a major component of its mission. FIU has awarded over 200,000 degrees and enrolls more than 54,000 students in two campuses and three centers including FIU Downtown on Brickell, FIU@I-75, and the Miami Beach Urban Studios. FIU also supports artistic and cultural engagement through its three museums: the Patricia & Phillip Frost Art Museum, the Wolfsonian-FIU, and the Jewish Museum of Florida-FIU. FIU is a member ofConference USA and has over 400 student-athletes participating in 18 sports. For more information about FIU, visit http://www.fiu.edu/.