FAMU awaits CASS building update


In June of 2017, Florida A&M University held the ceremonial groundbreaking for the Center for Access and Student Success (CASS) building. One year later, the project is at a standstill.

The FAMU Center for Access and Student Success is designed to be a multipurpose building serving as a one-stop shop for all the services students generally use.  This facility and the programs within it will enhance academic progression and contribute to the overall access, wellness and success of FAMU students.

“The Center for Access and Student Success is designed to be a multipurpose building serving as a one-stop shop for programs such as recruitment, admissions, financial aid and enrollment management.  This building will also house registrar, scholarship office, counselling services and the Center for Disability Access and Resources,” said Facilities/ Government Relations Director Barbara Cohen-Pippin.

The CASS building is planned to remedy the decentralized services that are currently spread across campus. Currently, buildings such as the Foote-Hilyer administration building, Lucy Moten, and the modular buildings house several student services.

The total cost for the project is approximately $40.7 million, and it is scheduled to be completed by the fall of 2020. The Center for Access and Student Success is funded by the Public Education Capital Outlay fund. PECO funds are appropriated through the Legislature every year, and FAMU hopes that next year the university will receive the funding required to complete the project.

FAMU officials were disappointed when lawmakers did not steer any new money toward CASS this year.  Funding delays can impact the expected completion date.

Associate Vice President of Facilities, Planning, Construction, and Safety Sameer Kapileshwari said, “To date we have received $16.1 million for CASS.  FAMU is seeking the balance of the funding to enable us to contract for remaining construction and related services for a successful project completion.”

The project team has completed all the design phases including the conceptual and advanced schematic design, site utility analyses, design development, early site package design phase and the full building design. Pre-construction services have been completed and site-related services including the utility work and the civil related work are currently in progress.  Using the appropriated funding to date, the plan is to address building foundation, electrical and plumbing stub outs, vertical structure and steel and a roof.  The approval for this part will be sought during the August Board of Trustees meeting in Orlando.  CASS will continue to remain a top priority project on the University Capital Improvement Plan.  The university will continue to seek necessary funding to complete the balance of the building construction and build out, Cohen-Pippin said.