Monday morning found Gov. Ron DeSantis at Florida A&M University, where he was part of a preview of the Center for Access and Student Success.
The 73,000-square-foot building is still under construction. The $32,228,000 project is expected to be complete in August.
When finished, it will be a hub of the historically black college’s campus, housing student recruitment, admissions, financial aid and student accounts, as well as the Center for Disability Access & Resources and the Undergraduate Student Success Center.
As well, expect space for computer labs, study areas, student meeting areas and a police sub-station.
University officials extolled the spend as a sign of “FAMU on the rise.” And Gov. DeSantis was no less ebullient about this “exciting day.”
The new construction, the Governor said, will allow FAMU to consolidate student services in one location, replacing a current structure housed in what FAMU President Larry Robinson said was “across campus … in a facility that served as the old black hospital.”
“This dedication is a major milestone,” DeSantis said.
He expects the build to facilitate “positive student outcomes, including enhanced retention and graduation rates.”
DeSantis also suggested that the new construction could help Florida’s already strong ranking for black entrepreneurship.
The state is already No. 3 in the country, but the Governor would like to see improvement in that metric.
“I think FAMU, what they’re doing here, is going to be part of fueling that. We want to keep that going,” DeSantis said.
“We want to be one of the best states for that. We’d like to be number one. Though Georgia’s pretty far ahead of us now, we’d like to do better.”
“We’ll work with FAMU, we’ll work with legislators to continue to expand opportunity for folks,” DeSantis continued.
On hand in support: Senate President Bill Galvano, Sen. Bill Montford, Rep. Byron Daniels, and Rep. Randy Fine.
Construction will continue for the next few months, but the facility will help to boost the state’s flagship African American university’s aging capital stock.