Big Changes Ahead for 2 Broward College CampusesPosted on December 11, 2015
Two Broward College campuses could undergo major changes as the school seeks private partners to help make needed upgrades.
The college wants to sell or lease its two aging buildings in Fort Lauderdale and have them redeveloped to include space for the 2,500 students who take classes downtown. At the same time, the 37-year-old south campus in eastern Pembroke Pines could get new athletic facilities as part of a proposal by local investors to create a soccer training camp for athletes hoping to go pro.
Gov. Rick Scott has encouraged schools to partner with private businesses to help defray costs after lawmakers in recent years slashed construction budgets for colleges and universities.
“We don’t have a lot of money to work with, but we’re looking how we can leverage some of the assets we do have to further the mission of the college,” said John Dunnuck, the college’s vice president of operations.
The college already has partnered with Washington, D.C.-based Municipal Acquisitions LLC in 2014 to open a new joint campus in Miramar with Florida International University.
Broward College has been considering its options after a 2011 consultant report said the school’s 61-year-old, six-story building on Las Olas Boulevard should be demolished since it fails to meet building codes, Americans with Disability Act standards, and is not energy efficient.
The college already has vacated much of the building although it still houses a financial aid office, a few classrooms and some administrative offices.
“It needs to be torn down for sure. It’s mostly vacant and unusable. Even many of the bathrooms are not usable,” Broward College President David Armstrong said. “We have moved people out. It’s not environmentally friendly.”
The old building is connected to a nine-story Broward College facility built in the 1980s, which also houses classrooms and offices. Both buildings would be available for redevelopment.
The timing is good, college officials say, because a Bank of America building across the street is expected to go for sale next year, potentially giving a buyer the opportunity to acquire three large downtown properties located next to each other.
The college also operates out of part of a 12-story building owned by Florida Atlantic University. That building wouldn’t be affected.
Another change would occur in Pembroke Pines, where Broward College is looking to upgrade its soccer field. Officials want to move the baseball field, now in Davie, to the south campus and build locker rooms and a concessions stand to serve both sports. The project has been postponed for several years due to lack of funds.
Now, a group of investors called 2D Sports Ventures has proposed building a state-of-the-art soccer complex, with facilities that could be used by Broward College. The plan includes a parking garage and a housing complex for soccer players from around the world.
Vacant units would be available for Broward College students, said 2D partner David Shaggy, and the proposal includes a revenue-sharing agreement with the college.
“It would be a dynamic partnership that would open people’s eyes around the world. This has never been done before,” Shaggy said. “We would not be looking for any financial commitments from the school. We’re trying to minimize the risk of the school.”
While the college hasn’t committed, it has agreed to seek proposals for possible development projects on the south campus, as well as the downtown campus. Both are expected to be advertised next month.