FAMU eager for CASS project to move forward

Florida A&M University held a groundbreaking ceremonial for the Center for Access and Student Success (CASS) building earlier this year.

Currently, the project is at a standstill. 

The building, located just north of Gaither Gym, is in progress, however. The design of the project is complete. 

The student center was originally scheduled to be completed by 2019, but due to funding delays the completion date had been pushed back indefinitely. The total cost of the project is approximately $40 million. So far FAMU has had $16.1 million appropriated for this project. FAMU still needs roughly $24 million to complete the project.

Sameer Kapileshwari, associate vice president of facilities, planning, construction, and safety, said, “the project is progressing well with the funding received to date. Unfortunately, the estimated completion date of the project is dependent on the availability of the balance of funding. The project team is eager and ready to get this project completed as soon as we have all the necessary funding.”

As of right now, the university is engaging the Board of Governors and legislators for funding to complete the project. Until the necessary funding is provided, there is not a specific date for when the project will be ready.

“As alumni, we are funding projects; this is one of the processes that we have to go through. This is the start of it. What this does is set up a financial opportunity for other alumni to come in to bring money to the school. It took us almost two weeks to put the pipes together. The project is evolving, but in the end, it’s going to come together,” said Michael Williams, assistant site foreman. 

Though funding has delayed the project, the CASS project team says it is working to get to the finish line. They have hired all of the project team (design professional services – architect/engineer, construction manager, and third-party audit firm). 

The goal of the Center for Access and Student Services is to provide a one-stop shop for student services. It is designed to enhance business processes for student services to increase recruitment, retention, persistence, graduation, and employment. The student support services will directly impact students by providing the services needed to graduate in four years and opportunities for employment or graduate school. 

The CASS building will also improve the student experience on our campus, said William Hudson Jr., vice president of student affairs.