Brandon Wise/ Editor-in-Chief
Welcome to the new Biscayne Bay Campus– at least what is planned to change in the next few years.
During the University’s Master Plan update session held on July 15 at 5 p.m., faculty and students were shown the proposed changes coming to the campus.
The biggest change: public/private partnerships.
In late June, Gov. Rick Scott signed a law to ramp-up public-private partnerships in Florida.
The new part of the law allows businesses to send unsolicited proposals to local governments and agencies, according to the Sun Sentinel.
Projects that qualify under the new law are any that serve a public purpose, including airport or seaport structures, pipelines, mass transit infrastructure, nursing homes, educational buildings and cultural centers or sports stadiums.
The Royal Caribbean Cruise Line partnership, which has been in ongoing discussions, is one of three proposed private partnerships that were discussed during the meeting.
Others included the new housing complex for students, which would be on the east side of the Hubert Library. If the proposed plan continues on this path, the new housing would be set to open in 2015, according to Chief Financial Officer Kenneth Jessell.
The current housing at BBC, Bay Vista, was scheduled to be demolished after the 2015 school year, Jessell said.
The cost of that demolition would cost around $2 million and Royal Caribbean will be paying around $2.2 million to lease the property where Bay Vista is, Jessell said.
A concern raised during the meeting was where students wishing to live at Bay Vista will be put if the deal with Royal Caribbean does go through.
James Wassenaar, director of Facilities Planning, said that Biscayne Landing is being considered as an option for students. This option will also offer a courtesy shuttle to get to BBC.
Another option for those students is the new housing at Modesto A. Maidique Campus– Parkview. They are also looking at other options for students who wish to live at Bay Vista if this proposal goes through.
The audience of around 40 people, mostly faculty and administrators, were pleased with the presentation, including Vice President of the Student Government Council at BBC Richard Azimov.
“It was a great opportunity, even though a lot of students didn’t show up besides Student Government, that a lot of those questions were raised,” Azimov said. “It was good for administrators to keep those questions in mind. It wasn’t really advertised well to the student body.”
Approximately only six currently enrolled students attended the meeting. Azimov would not comment further on the lack of students in attendance at the meeting.
Krisan Osterby, member of the steering committee and of Perkins and Will, an architecture firm hired to help the planning process, said that the committee has also taken into account the effects of sea level rise for the new housing and that he proposed placement of the new housing is the safest and driest place on campus.
The committee is also proposing two other partnerships including a hotel component, which would be next to the Kovens Center. This would be used to help conferences for faculty and staff on campus.
Bob Griffith, director of Facilities Planning, said that the committee isn’t looking at the funding aspect for much of these proposals yet, just overall plans.