Building Tallahassee: Growth at FSU and FAMU

Building Tallahassee: Growth at FSU and FAMU
Posted at 6:15 PM, Feb 22, 2017
and last updated 2017-02-22 13:46:16-05

TALLAHASSEE, FL (WTXL) -- The "Building Tallahassee" series explores development in higher education.

In addition to Tallahassee Community College's new Center for Innovation, Florida State and Florida A&M have been working to grow and renovate as well.

Change has finally come for the Wesley Foundation at FSU.

"We tore down our 1970s chapel and our 1950 fellowship hall," said pastor Mike Toluba.

The foundation on Jefferson Street serves students at FSU and TCC. This new building opened in January 2017.

"We've had aging facilites for decades," Toluba said. "Since the 1980s, the Wesley Foundation has wondered, 'What are we going to do with our buildings?'"

The new space seats 600 people with space for a cafe and coffee bar. Toluba said the development is part of the bigger picture at Florida State.

"In about 20 years, we'll be right in the heart of campus, as campus grows to the south and to the east," he said.

All around, you can hear the sounds of construction. This is the new courtyard for four residence halls at Florida State. In 2015, the new Dorman and Deviney were set up and coming up in fall 2017, two more residence halls.

"The reason we're doing this and have invested this much is because we felt our students deserved the best living locations on campus," said

Shannon Staton, executive director of FSU housing.

More than 900 beds will replace those from former dorms. These halls will feature suite rooms and seminar space and with the new development comes four food stations for students.

"They're able to work together, study together, eat together now -- and with the courtyard development and different things we have," said Staton, "we have lots of gathering spaces for our students."

Elsewhere on campus, a major project will transform the Oglesby Student Union.

"The facilities -- we've outgrown them, and it's important that they get redone," said Matt Ducatt, director of FSU Oglesby Union.

Director Matt Ducatt says the last time the union expanded was when FSU had about 17,000 students. Now, with more than 40,000, more space is needed.

"There are a lot of great things that we do here," said Ducatt, "but if we had the facilities, we could do so much more."

Ducatt says the university is still planning and designing its vision for the union. The goal is to break ground in the spring of 2018 and to complete the project in the fall of 2020.

While construction at Florida State University is underway, development here at Florida A&M is in the works. We are here at "The Pentaplex" -- it's a group of five old residence halls that are no longer being used. But this is the site for future development in terms of housing, retail and parking.

"We really are looking to redevelop those areas, modernize those facilities, so that our students will have a better learning, living experience on campus," said

Sameer Kapileshwari, associate vice president of facilities, planning, construction and safety.

FAMU is reviewing financing options to start working on development. The university wants to model future housing after "Famu Village" which is considered a "living, learning community."

"We find students who are like-minded individuals who are in the same major or have a common program," said Kapileshwari.

And over on the athletic side, Bragg Memorial Stadium will undergo major repair. Work is set to start during the 2017 spring semester and to be complete before football starts in the fall.

"It's not only that the students, faculty and staff over here want it, but the support that we have received from the community -- that's really been a blessing for us," said Kapileshwari.

Two universities -- two different paths to build up the capital city.

Next week, we wrap up our series taking a look at development in the city's healthcare sector.