FSU seeks to expand facilities

Florida State University is looking to develop a state-of-the-art University Park expanding to about 1500 acres, which would place it among the country’s largest university research parks, according to Bye’s Park Concept and Project Description.

FSU’s campus is among the smallest of the state’s universities, but its current student population is more than 35,000 students, according to Raymond Bye, vice president of research for Florida State University.

“We have highly efficient space utilization of this existing space,” Bye said in the FSU University Park Concept and Project Description, “but, in the longer term, our opportunities will become more limited unless we can develop an expansion plan.”

University Park will include research and educational building clusters. Short roads leading into the University Park from several directions will connect each cluster.

Many universities have developed a second campus to accommodate its expansion; FSU will be doing the same.

The proposed University Park will be located a short distance from the 463-acre campus currently located in the middle of Tallahassee.

FSU is looking to expand on its existing Innovation Park, which is about 700 acres, primarily under the control of the university.

Innovation Park is where FSU’s Don Veller Seminole Golf Course is located, along with Alumni Village, the FSU broadcast center and the FAMU/FSU College of Engineering.

In addition to Innovation Park, FSU is looking to acquire some state-owned property, city and county properties and some privately owned lands in the area, Bye said.

The campus expansion has a few FAMU students concerned with FAMU’s role in the College of Engineering.

“I just hope FSU is considerate of FAMU’s opportunity to expand as well,” said Marcus Sandifer, 20, a junior business administration student from Fort Pierce. “If they are using the land to expand the engineering school, I think this expansion could be beneficial to both universities.”

However, other FAMU students disagree.

“We are concerned that FSU has not contacted FAMU administration to ensure that this project is in the best interest of both universities,” said Keith A. Ashe, a member of a coalition of concerned engineering students.

“This purchase puts FSU in the position of appearing as if they have more ownership of the joint college due to the fact that it will be considered a part of FSU’s research campus,” said Ashe, 21, a senior industrial engineering student from Miami.

“These developments are similar to the events that occurred in the summer of 2001 when FSU President Sandy D’Alemberte attempted to split the joint college,” Ashe said.

“A possible solution would be an agreement that the land FAMU-FSU College of Engineering is built on will remain neutral.”

“Creating a University Park, would allow us to protect and provide additional space for expanding the FAMU-FSU College of Engineering,” Bye said, “but the specifics of the engineering school would have to be made between FAMU and FSU’s presidents.”

FSU brought in the Urban Land Institute to assist with its campus expansion.

The Washington-based ULI represents more than 15,000 members in the United States and more than 50 other countries.

It is recognized as America’s preeminent organization, encouraging high standards of land use, planning and real estate development, according to Bye’s University Park Concept and Project Description. The ULI has researched and reviewed possibilities for FSU’s University Park.

“The ULI made about 100 recommendations for the University Park,” Bye said. “The ULI said this is a dynamic, challenging and doable project.”