FAMU’s Center for Access and Student Services project still in progress

Photo credit: Corenda Bell 


Florida A&M University plans to continue seeking funds for its new Center for Access and Student Success building. Currently, CASS is in the works of being constructed.

The CASS project is a top priority of the university’s Public Education Capital Outlay funding requests. The university has received a total of $16,155,000 of the $39,355,000 cost for the CASS project from the Florida Legislature.

The total cost includes the $12.6 million the university received towards the CASS project last year. However, the funding is still not enough to cover the entire project according to FAMU’s Associate President of Facility Planning, Construction, and Safety, Sameer Kapileshwari, .

“Although, we do not have the full amount to complete the whole project, we will continue with the phases that have already been approved by our Board,” Kapileshwari said.

The university has appropriated enough funds to begin the construction of the site where the building will be located. The facility will sit next to Gaither Gym on Wahnish Way.

The Board of Trustees approved the first two phases to commence, which is utility and site civil related work.

“We are going to be using the dollars to work on the project,” Barbara Cohen-Pippen, FAMU’s director of governmental relations, stated. “The money has to be used for CASS because that’s what it was appropriated for.”

An architect and engineering company the university has signed a contract with has the responsibilities of the pre-construction for the CASS Building. FAMU also has made arrangements for audit services during construction.

The project is being carried out in several phases contingent with funding.

Phase 1 construction for the building began in November 2017. Phase 2 construction will continue in April 2018.  This will be the foundation and structure package.

The following phases, 3 and 4, will depend on appropriations and funding for the upcoming year.

CASS will serve as a multipurpose building that is designed as a one-stop-shop for students to have access to several departments such as financial aid, the registrar’s office, recruitment, admissions, scholarship office, enrollment management, and the Center for Disability Access and Resources.

“They are still going to be working on the facility with the money we have,” Cohen-Pippen said. “And yes, we are going to resubmit our requests.”

The department of Facilities, Planning, Construction and Safety have concluded the timeline for construction and identified 2019 the year for completion for CASS, so long as the appropriations the university seeks are approved.

“CASS will remain our priority project and as such we will be pursuing funding again next year,” Kapileshwari said.