Gov. Scott signs bill allowing FAMU to seek federal funding for residence hall expansion
Gov. Rick Scott late Monday signed a bill that allows Florida A&M University trustees to seek federal funding to finance construction of a 700-bed residence hall and other improvements.
Scott signed SB 1712, which gives trustees the option to seek construction financing through the U.S. Department of Education’s Historically Black College and University Capital Financing Program.
The federal program is created to finance infrastructure improvements at HBCUs.
The final bill was sponsored in the House by Rep. Ramon Alexander and in the Senate by Sens. Bill Montford, D-Tallahassee, and Perry Thurston, Jr., D-Fort Lauderdale.
“I appreciate Gov. Scott’s signing of SB 1712,” Alexander said. “Allowing Florida A&M University access to participate in the Historically Black College and University Capital Funding Program for future capital outlay projects is a huge step for the university in achieving infrastructure development goals and the highest educational success. This bill allows the university to take necessary steps to help ensure that.”
体育在线365Earlier this month, FAMU’s Board of Trustees approved a pre-development agreement with a Central Florida company to continue planning for a new residence hall the university wants to get online by fall 2020.
The consent agreement is with Construct Two Group, or CTG, an Orlando company chaired by FAMU alumnus Derrick Wallace. The company, which has an extensive history of university and medical construction in Florida, has been working with planners from the university and local government on developing the housing project.
体育在线365Phase 1 of the project would include the construction of a 700-bed residence hall at South Martin Luther King Boulevard and Osceola Street. It also calls for the demolition of closed residence halls, Wheatley, Cropper, Diamond and McGuinn.
体育在线365In addition to the federal program, FAMU trustees have the option of bond financing, or a public-private partnership, whereby Construct Two, would provide the financing. FAMU is contributing the property.
According to the U.S. Department of Education website, the finance program provides HBCUs with access to capital financing or refinancing for the repair, renovation, and construction of classrooms, libraries, laboratories, dormitories, instructional equipment, and research instrumentation.
Consultants working with trustees say the federal funding would provide for the lowest cost of funding the project.
A privately placed loan with the U.S. Department of Education
Lowest costs of funding
No bond debt rating required
Preserves single housing system and full university control
Any formula first must be approved by FAMU President Larry Robinson, trustees and the Board of Governors.
The pre-agreement with Construct Two comes with a financial commitment from FAMU to the tune of $1.6 million to pay for the developer’s planning, design, materials and other related costs.
The goal is to have the residence hall completed for a fall 2020 move-in date. The university is projecting an enrollment of 12,000 by then.
The 700 beds would quickly be filled with students already in need of housing, leaving about 200 spots available.
Contact senior writer Byron Dobson at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @byrondobson.