FGCU makes financing plan for $18.2 million recreation center
After three legislative sessions and still no promise of state funding for a new recreation center, Board of Trustees Chairwoman Robbie Roepstorff told President Wilson Bradshaw and his administration to “get creative.”
Using a combination of funding from the FGCU Financing Corporation, the FGCU Foundation, two private donors and $8.2 million from the university’s Capital Improvement Trust Fund, the team created an $18.2 million plan for the Student Academic Health and Life Fitness Center.
“We are very excited about the end result,” Bradshaw said. “It took a lot of work and commitment. We think the plan is very sound, financially.”
The proposal will be presented to the BOT at a special meeting, 8:30 a.m. Dec. 11 in the Cohen Center Ballroom.
If the plan is approved, the university’s next step will be to receive a permit to build from the Army Corps of Engineers.
“That is out of our hands,” Bradshaw said. If the permitting is approved, Bradshaw said FGCU already has an architect and several construction proposals ready. He estimates the construction of the 118,000 square-foot center will take about 12 months.
Bradshaw is hoping to have the center built in South Village, and the current 9,000 square-foot recreation center in North Lake could become part of an athletics center for FGCU Athletics.
“We’re building a much larger facility for a much larger institution,” Bradshaw said. “Our sister institutions all have rec centers that are consistent with the size of their student population.”
The fitness center would be better able to accommodate FGCU’s 14,673 students than the existing recreation center, which was built for a 4,000-student population.
The Student Academic Health and Life Fitness Center is just one project listed on FGCU’s 2015-25 Campus Master Plan. The plan also includes a Performing Arts Center, Academic Building 9, and a chiller plant to cool AB9.
Bradshaw said that while the fitness center may be the first project on that list to get funding, the other projects are also important for the school.
“The Student Academic Health and Life Fitness Center is a project that typically comes from a different funding source … those other projects come from different parts of money,” Bradshaw said.
If the proposal is approved by the BOT, the university will be able to remove its funding request for the fitness center from its state funding requests.
Bradshaw said the “Academic Health,” portion of the center’s name refers to equipment that can be used by students in FGCU’s Physical Therapy and Human Performance program. He expects that people will call the SAHLFC the “rec center.”
The CITF is a fund that each public university in the state of Florida has. It is made up of student fees, and can only be used for specific projects including technology enhancements, buying improved real property and construction, according to the Florida State Legislature website.
FGCU students pay a fee of $6.76 toward the CITF every semester, according to the website of the FGCU Office of the Bursar.