Open forum this week seeks student ideas on campus future


It’s not every day that students are given the chance to affect the course of Florida Gulf Coast University’s future. On Tuesday, Feb. 10, students will have the opportunity to share their ideas for the facilities and infrastructure of the FGCU campus.

Tom Mayo, director of facilities planning, will host a town-hall meeting followed by an energy and sustainability forum in the Cohen Center, and he’s hoping for a big turnout.

“The meeting is open to anyone who wants to come,” Mayo said. “Although we would like to hear from our students and faculty and staff.”

The meetings are two of several to come, all a part of an effort to update the university’s 2015 to 2025 campus master plan, which will determine the physical growth of FGCU.

“We had a transportation forum a few weeks ago and we had about 30 individuals total,” Mayo said. “We got some really good comments and some new things that we had not heard about.”

Mayo anticipated hearing students with concerns about parking, but he was surprised by some of the other comments.

“There were some suggestions to improve the walkability of the campus,” he said.

The process of updating the master plan has four phases, according to Mayo.

The first phase is data collection, during which Mayo and his team look at how the university has grown in recent years. The forums and meetings taking place are all a part of the analysis and options phase. In the preferred concepts phase, the team will solidify its plans for university growth, and in the documentation and presentation phase it will decide what it needs to implement the plan.

Mayo will also be meeting with members of FGCU’s greater community, which includes Miromar Development, Grandezza, the Lee County Department of Transportation and the Private Equity Group.

“We really want to know what growth the county has in mind,” Mayo said. “We’ll be planning with Lee County so they have the infrastructure in place to accommodate our growth.”

The town-hall meeting will take place in the Cohen Center ballroom from 10 to 11:30 a.m. Feb. 10, and the energy and sustainability forum will follow in the Cohen Center room 247 from 1 to 2:30 p.m.

“This is just an invitation to the university community to talk about their ideas and what they’ve seen and where would you like to see the university go?” Mayo said. “We don’t know what we’re going to get, really, and that’s a good thing.”