Saturday, October 21, 2017

FGCU Looks to Expand ETI, Moves Forward on 234-Acre Purchase

the fgcu emergent technologies institute logo

“naplesIn conjunction with Florida Gulf Coast University’s 20 year anniversary is their most recent campaign, “FGCU at 20.” The campaign directly encourages growth, the university’s top priority.

The Emergent Technology Institute campus at Florida Gulf Coast University is a separate, 6.5 acre and 25,000 square-foot facility, located in Fort Myers, and speaks to the current and future growth of the school. However, the space has been minimally used since opening its doors in January 2016.

According to the report of the ETI task force to the university president, no classes have been formally scheduled there at all.

During FGCU’s Board of Trustees meeting on January 10, the ETI task force, charged with the development of emergent technologies and entrepreneurial opportunities, presented several recommendations to the board, including expansion.

It is estimated by FGCU that the current piece of land at ETI has the potential to hold an additional one or two buildings, depending on configuration and size. As of now, the ETI facility has an event space, three classrooms, one computer laboratory, ten offices for faculty and staff, two project laboratories, three research laboratories, two high-bay laboratories, one lecture hall, and one machine shop.

The ETI task force asked that the board to pursue an architectural drawing for the possible creation of an additional building that would serve to house an Institute of Entrepreneurship.

In addition to sketching a possible new building, it was recommended to the board that they look into buying the surrounding 234 acres of the ETI hub to support the development of a larger medical / biotech corridor, healthcare tourism destination, as well as resort and hospitality management.

The FGCU Foundation Board of Directors proposed the purchase of the surrounding acreage around the 6.5 acre ETI hub. The board voted 10 to 1 for the Foundation to move forward with the seller with a budget of $5 million.

The FGCU Foundation will go to the seller and try to buy the property with $1 million in equity and take out a $4 million loan.

The property will not come easy, though. According to the report, if the seller takes the $5 million offer, the land would still need mitigation done, zoning needs to be changed and the active mine next to it would bring heavy traffic.

In addition to the physical expansions recommended to the BOT, there are personnel and student growth recommendations up for vote.

Formally scheduled classes at the ETI, along with improved transportation to the satellites campus, are both part of the recommendations. There is also a recommendation for cluster hiring to improve specific areas of study and open the door to the development of PHD programs.

FGCU is set to offer 11 new degrees within the next five years, including a M.S. in Engineering, B.S. in Entrepreneurship and M.S. in Biology.

The ETI task force has officially been dissolved, given they’ve made their recommendations, and the BOT will vote on the standing recommendations at their April meeting.

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