Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed the state’s $91 billion state spending plan, which includes an allocation of $24.8 million to complete construction of Florida A&M University’s (FAMU) state-of-the-art Center for Access and Student Success (CASS).
The CASS building is under construction on Wahnish Way and will put, under one roof, departments that are now spread across the campus, such as Student Affairs, the Career Center, Health Center and Counseling Services.
The building will also house Student Financial Services, the Registrar’s Office, the Undergraduate Student Success Center, Undergraduate Admissions, Financial Aid, Enrollment Management, New Student Orientation and the Cashier’s Office.
FAMU President Larry Robinson, Ph.D., thanked Gov. DeSantis, Senate and House leaders and key legislators for their support of the University’s top priority during the 2019 Legislative session. He also applauded the well-coordinated support provided by FAMU trustees, the National Alumni Association and the entire FAMU community.
The CASS Building is the centerpiece of the University’s “FAMU Rising” strategic plan, which prioritizes exceptional student experience and student success.
“The services offered in the Center will make a tremendous difference in the lives of our students,” Robinson said. “This is a great investment in their future and in the state’s future.”
With the governor’s signature on the funding legislation, the building is scheduled to open in fall 2020.
“This is a big day in the life of Florida A&M University,” said William E. Hudson Jr., Ph.D., vice president for Student Affairs. “This building will provide centralized access to support services creating a positive experience for all stakeholders. It also enables us to deliver the kind of enhanced campus experience our students deserve and we aspire to.”
The construction team has completed all of the pre-construction activities, the underground utilities and some site-related civil work. Excavation necessary for the building foundation has been completed. Wall reinforcements and wall forms are complete and structural steel is being installed. With the funding appropriated to date, they plan to complete the foundation work, electrical and plumbing stub outs, and vertical structural steel and roof. The building envelope and interior build out will be completed with the funding in the 2019-2020 budget.
The CASS building is estimated to cost $40.7 million. Prior to the latest allocation by the Legislature, the University had received about $16.1 million to construct the building.
In the final days of the legislative session, President Robinson spent several hours at the Capitol thanking legislators from both sides of the aisle. University officials said securing the final funds was the result of a truly bipartisan team effort involving Republicans and Democrats, alumni, administrators, students and parents.
“It was like a relay,” said Barbara Cohen-Pippin, FAMU director of Government Relations. “Everyone took the baton and ran with it.”