Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University (FAMU) President Elmira Mangum, Ph.D., has a vision to revitalize our historic campus and help stimulate the redevelopment of Tallahassee’s Southside Adams and Monroe Streets corridor. That plan includes a new and improved residential facility in the form of a living-learning community (LLC) called the Palmetto North Project.
An LLC is an environment where students are placed together based on a common major, common interest, or common program affiliation assignments. Research suggests that this type of collaborative learning outside the classroom improves academic outcomes for students.
Currently, there are five LLCs on campus. The Palmetto North Project will create 440 new beds and replace the presently closed Palmetto North Housing facility.
“This project will greatly contribute to student success, retention, and recruiting, which will improve enrollment and graduation rates,” Mangum said.
According to Mangum, the Palmetto North initiative is just one of many efforts that will be set in place to help the University make strides toward accomplishing the strategies outlined in the newly proposed strategic plan titled, “FAMU Forever Forward” or “F3.” She also explained that the Palmetto North project is directly aligned with two of the proposed five destinations outlined in the strategic plan.
“Offering students at Florida A&M University an exceptional educational experience and developing high-quality, sustainable facilities that support academic success are two essential components to the plan we have developed to move FAMU forward as a 21st century institution of higher learning,” Mangum said.
The strategic plan was presented to the FAMU Board of Trustees at its board meeting on June 9. Mangum and Board of Trustees Chair Kelvin Lawson discussed that plan during the Board of Governor’s meeting in Orlando on Wednesday.
“We are working closely with the Board of Trustees to obtain their approval of the plan so that it can be submitted to the Board of Governors for their approval,” Mangum said. “Meanwhile, the administration team is working vigorously to obtain the estimated $30-$35 million it will take to bring the Palmetto North development to fruition.”
University officials are exploring the feasibility of obtaining funds for the project through the U.S. Department of Education (DOE) Historically Black College or University (HBCU) Capital Financing Program.
“We anticipate making an application to the DOE prior to Sept. 30, pending approval from the Board of Trustees, Division of Bond Financing, and the Board of Governors,” said Angela Poole, acting vice president of Finance and Administration and CFO.
Ultimately, President Mangum believes the project will serve as a model for other universities and local communities to emulate.
“This project is the latest in our efforts to accelerate FAMU’s progression toward achieving best -in-class status across the board,” Mangum said. “In order to accomplish this goal, one of the first and most important steps is creating a well-rounded, living-learning environment that is second to none for our students.”
Sameer Kapileshwari, associate vice president for Facilities, Planning, Construction, and Safety at FAMU, said the plans, which have gained traction over the past year under Mangum’s leadership, will assist City of Tallahassee officials with the development and beautification of the Southside Community, while providing much needed upgrades to existing facilities on campus. Additionally, ensuring students on the south side of campus do not feel isolated and separated from the rest of the campus is another concern the project will address.
“President Mangum has placed an emphasis on doing everything possible to upgrade facilities and provide the best conditions possible for our students here at FAMU. With this in mind, our vision is focused on enhancing the student experience while assisting the local community as well,” Kapileshwari said.
FAMU alumni and supporters are encouraged to make financial contributions to the Palmetto North Development Project. Interested persons should send contributions to the following address:
Florida A&M University Foundation, Inc.
Palmetto North Development Project Fund
C/O George Cotton
625 E. Tennessee Street, Suite 100
Tallahassee, FL 32308-4933