Both new and returning students were in for a surprise this semester after seeing the many renovations that took place on campus.
Florida Southern College has been constantly improving campus life and comfort by adding in a new green space, updating living conditions, and adding in extra laboratories for classes and research.
Terry Dennis, vice president for finance and administration, was closely involved with contributing ideas to and overseeing the recent construction going on around campus.
According to Dennis, a committee has been working on these renovations for the past nine years. It all depended upon timing and financial flexibility for the school to put these ideas into action.
“This has been a long, ongoing process to decide where we wanted to put different things and how to prioritize them,” Dennis said.
Dennis explained that an original cmaster plan was developed by Glatting Jackson in the early 2000’s. This helped make a campus map to display where changes needed to be made as they pertained to academics, athletics, and residential concerns.
A total of about ten major renovations were completed over the past year and ahalf. A combination of individual donors, companies and foundation grants made all of the construction possible.
Jenkins Field House was given a new entrance with better tiling and glass doors to make it more appealing.
The tennis courts that were once across from the Jenkins Field House are now located next to the intramural field. The new tennis courts are now known as the Wynee Warden Tennis Center.
The old tennis courts were torn down, and replaced by a large green space for students and families to have an open field to relax and play Frisbee or other recreational activities.
If all this was not exciting enough, former World No. 1 professional tennis player Chris Evert will be dedicating the new tennis courts on Sept. 14 at 11 a.m.
The green space was named Mr. George’s Green for George Jenkins, founder of Publix Supermarkets.
“He was known as Mr. George when he was very active and running Publix.His whole family has been such strong supporters of the college, which is why we named it ‘Mr. George’s Green Space’,” Dennis said.
Looking out across the green is a veranda which is located right outside of the Allan Spivey hall. Rocking chairs and decorations gave the old building a more welcome feeling outside for students to relax and enjoy the new scenery.
“So many colleges have a campus green where everyone can go to. When Dr. Kerr came in, she really focused on being able to getting that done,” Dennis said. “Once we were able to get funding to do the tennis courts that opened up the best location since it is right in the middle of campus.”
Some changes, such as the ones at Tutu’s and residence halls, were not planned, but were brought to the attention of the staff by students
“In the last eight years under Dr. Kerr’s leadership we have brought some of the original things to fruition, and have developed new ideas that have been inserted into the plan,” Dennis said.
Thanks to SGA, Tutu’s was expanded with more furniture and electrical outlets. Students no longer have to worry about the popular work and hang out spot being as crowded. A celebration took place on Aug. 28 inside of Tutu’s for the opening of the expansion.
The old concrete outside the cafeteria was replaced with a new staircase. Both the cafeteria and Communication department was also given brand new star deck flooring to make it more appealing to the eye.
Over the past few months, the Jackson Religion Building has also been under some much-needed construction as well. The project is expected to be finished by the end of October of this year.
The new JRB, which will be known as the Fannin Ministry Center, will have larger offices, restrooms for students and staff, more space for lounge and club activities and a larger kitchen.
Less visible construction also took place this summer. The entire campus now has wireless access. Students will no longer have to worry about using Ethernet cords or being in a specific spot or building to stay connected.
“There may be some nook or cranny somewhere. People just need to tell us if they’re having trouble connecting and we can work on that,” Dennis said. “Last year, wireless was the hottest student request on campus.”
Work was also done in the freshmen residence halls. In Hollis, bathrooms were remodeled to be more aesthetically pleasing with private shower stalls. Hallways were repainted and a laundry room was put in place on first floor. Freshmen boys living in Hollis will no longer worry about walking over to Jenkins or the Publix Greek suites to do their laundry.
In the freshmen girls’ halls, all three floors of Joseph-Reynolds were given new bathrooms. On the second floor of JR and Spivey, rooms with carpet were remodeled with carpet for a new, updated look.
“Everything we did this summer is really beneficial to the students. It all went to residence halls, classrooms, or community space,” Dennis said.
Future plans include remodeling in Dell, updating bathrooms in Spivey, a new Business building, A Frank Lloyd Wright Usonian House, Admission’s office, and enlarging stores such as the bookstore and Moc Mart.
“We’ll be listening to students about things we don’t know that we need right now,” Dennis said.