TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — One more step. Florida A&M University officials hope that's all it takes to get the rest of the funding to complete their new student services center.
The university got good news this weekend. The House and Senate unanimously passed a spending plan that includes the $24.8 million FAMU needs to complete construction on the center.
It's now heading straight to Governor Ron DeSantis' desk. If he approves the entire $24.8 million, the project can finally be completed. School officials say they are optimistic that the governor will support the project.
About $40 million, that is the total cost to construct FAMU's Center for Access and Student Success or CASS building.
To date, the university has received $16.1 million from the legislature, although they did not receive any funding for the project last year.
School officials say FAMU's students deserve the new center and that the facility and the easy access students will have much needed services and it's going to be directly tied to an increased retention and graduation rate.
"That's going to help us help our students have the best possible experience on campus graduate, make our city proud, and help the state of Florida," said Sameer Kapileshwari, Associate Vice President of Facilities at FAMU.
School officials say the center has been a number one priority for the university for the last few years.
It will be a one stop shop for all student related services, as opposed to having them inconveniently spread out around campus as they are now.
Recruitment, admissions, counseling, career development, and health, among other things, will all finally be under the same roof.
Of the $16-million they have already received for construction, project managers say they've gone through about 40 percent of that. They've got the foundations and floor slabs and are beginning to put the structural steel in place. Once finished, it will be state of the art.
"We have fully automated HVHC systems, we have automated fire alarm systems, we have all the bells and whistles to make this a unique structure," said David Rosenfeld, Project Manager of CASS building at FAMU.
If all goes according to plan, and the university is given the money to complete the project, school officials say the 82,000 square foot facility on Wahnish Way should be completed by 2020.
School officials say the CASS building and it's services should help improve the first year retention rate of students five percent from 81 percent to 86 percent and increase the graduation rate by 23 percent from 39 percent to 62 percent, plus shorten wait times and streamline transaction processes.