CAC to open this fall with new name: The Student Life Center will be “one-stop shop” for student needs
USF St. Petersburg’s new health center is scheduled to open on Aug. 10, just a few weeks before the start of the fall 2012 semester.The Campus Activities Center core, offices and aerobic rooms closed for renovations last fall. And although CAC construction was expected to wrap before the fall 2012 semester, Ashok Dhingra, regional vice chancellor for administrative and financial services, said getting the health center open first is the priority.
“We need to make sure the Student Health Center is in operation by fall 2012,” Dhingra said. “We’ve got 354 students at Residence Hall One; we’ve got 196 new students moving into the new building … it’s critical to have a health center on campus.”
USFSP currently offers counseling services, but students with other medical needs have to visit the USF Tampa facilities, and pay an additional fee to do so.
Construction on the remaining areas of the CAC—which will be renamed the Student Life Center—is scheduled to be complete by mid-October.
A tight budget is another reason for the CAC construction delay. About $2.7 million was set aside for the initial project budget, but an estimate from the architect expected the project to cost $4 million. Dhingra said the budget is currently at “a little over $3 million,” and is confident the final price tag can be brought down by a “couple of hundred thousand dollars.”
Student Government members expressed concern at the lack of a furniture budget during their Jan. 18 meeting. All of the offices planning to move into the Student Life Center—including Student Government—already own furniture, said Dhingra, who added moving expenses will be paid for. New furnishings for the health center are in the budget, Dhingra said.
Once open, the Student Life Center will house new and existing services for USFSP. Disability services will be located on the ground floor of the building, and testing offices will be available for students who need extra time, or a quiet space, to complete their exams. In addition to the clinic, counseling and career services will call the Student Life Center home, as well as Student Government, Student Life, the Harborside Activities Board, The Crow’s Nest and the Bishop Leadership Center.
An “interactive welcome board” is being designed by Julie Wong, regional vice chancellor of student affairs, and David Brodosi, distance learning coordinator at the Nelson Poynter Memorial Library. Multiple screens will feature interviews and videos, highlight activities and promote communication as a “high-tech, high-touch” way to tie the building together.
“We’re going to have this really huge multipurpose student center with a lot of bells and whistles, and we really want to make sure students feel excited with the CAC,” Wong said.
Demolition on the CAC interior will begin Feb. 1.
Photos by Daniel Mutter