In the News
Space crunch hits public universities
11/10/2006 © Daytona Beach News-Journal
ORLANDO -- When Liz Krieger practices her French horn with the University of Central Florida Orchestra, there is a cacophony of claustrophobia. "It's definitely cramped," Krieger said. "We have an 80-person orchestra rehearsing in something the size of a closet." It's hard to imagine on this sprawling campus, teeming with construction, but Krieger, a senior from Elysburg, Pa., says the space crunch is real. University President John Hitt called it "acute. "If you try to schedule a classroom on this campus anytime between 7 in the morning and 10 at night, you're gonna have a pretty tough time," Hitt said Thursday in an interview in his office. Next week, the Florida Board of Governors, overseers of the 11 state universities, will discuss a report released Thursday detailing the predicament. Over the next six years, the universities enrollment is expected to grow by 50,000 students, the size of an additional University of Florida. To accommodate those students, an additional 14 million square feet of classrooms, labs and other facilities will be needed, according to "Building Florida's Future: Quality and Access or Business as Usual?" a report written by state university Chancellor Mark Rosenberg. The estimated cost: $3.4 billion. The Board of Governors plans to begin discussing how to generate such funds when it meets in Pensacola on Wednesday and Thursday. Rosenberg's report includes several options, but no recommendations. They include: • seeking more in general tax or lottery revenue from the Legislature. • expanding matching grant programs to encourage more gifts. • imposing a 40-cents-per pack cigarette tax, raising $10 million annually. • increasing student fees. "We have to build more buildings. We have to catch up," said Bill Edmonds, the Board of Governors' director of communications. "Deferred maintenance is a bad habit around here." The report also covers an array of other possible solutions, including maximizing the use of the buildings by offering more weekend classes. "We could offer more on Saturdays," Hitt said, "but the problem is getting the students to take the classes. Students, I jokingly say sometimes, if you don't look at 'em real carefully, they look just like real people. They make choices." Many work and many choose not to attend class on the weekend, he said.
State universities need $3.4 billion for growth, report says
11/10/2006 © Miami Herald (Requires Login)
A new report says the state's 11 public universities need $3.4 billion for new buildings to meet a student population expected to grow by 50,000 in the next six years. The report could prove influential as university leaders consider how to get more cash in the system that is historically underfunded compared with other states. ''While the state's needs and ambitions have grown, the structures in place to plan and fund higher education facilities have not kept up,'' notes the report, prepared by a task force of university officials. Bill Edmonds, a spokesman for state university Chancellor Mark Rosenberg, said the space problem at public universities is one of the most significant issues facing the Florida Board of Governors, an appointed group that oversees the state's public universities. Board members are scheduled to discuss the report next week at a meeting in Pensacola.
11/11/2006 © Tallahassee Democrat
When Gov.-elect Charlie Crist thanked Floridians for electing him Tuesday, among the commitments he made was making our state universities tops in the nation. Now a new report will give him some extra ammunition when, presumably, he seeks more money from lawmakers to boost the state university system. Citing a task force of university officials that prepared the study, The Miami Herald on Friday reported that Florida's 11 public universities need $3.4 billion for new construction because of anticipated enrollment growth of 50,000 students over the next six years.
State Universities' Seek Solutions to Space Crunch
11/11/2006 © Lakeland Ledger
TAMPA - Florida university students should savor their class-free Fridays, party weekends and lazy summers. They may soon have to take more of their classes year-round, and in renovated buildings rather than new ones. Florida's university system, already packed with 300,000 students, is expecting 50,000 more by 2012. That influx has university leaders trying to figure out how to generate $3.4 billion - the amount needed to build 14 million square feet in new facilities.
BOG has ambitious plan for higher ed needs
11/10/2006 © Tallahassee Democrat
Florida universities are running out of leg room and lab space. A $3.4 billion plan to give new classrooms and research labs to all 11 universities has been mailed to state lawmakers. It is likely to be endorsed next week by the Florida Board of Governors that guides university policy. Titled "Building Florida's Future: Quality and Access or Business as Usual?" the report released on Thursday concludes Florida's university system is "one of the most crowded in the nation." A facilities task force convened by the board last spring did the analysis.
Universities Need Billions In Revamps
11/10/2006 © Tampa Bay Online
To accommodate about 50,000 more students, Florida's public universities must spend $3.4 billion over the next six years, according to a state report released Thursday. Universities grew by tens of thousands of students in recent years, but school construction and renovation lagged, said Bill Edmonds, spokesman for the Board of Governors, which oversees the state's 11 public universities. Nearly 300,000 students are enrolled in the university system. An addition of 50,000 students is the equivalent of another University of Florida.