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Board approves Altamonte Springs master plan

The master plan calls for eight new high-rise buildings and parking structures. The building in yellow is the current Altamonte Springs Campus.

Seminole State College of Florida’s District Board of Trustees unanimously approved a master plan for the Altamonte Springs Campus that will transform acres of car dealerships into a bustling business and academic hub with buildings as high as 15 stories.

The plan, which was approved on Monday, Dec. 3, calls for eight new high-rise buildings and parking structures at the campus, and the creation of 1.4 million square feet of space, more than the College’s four campuses combined.

The vote, which took place during the board’s monthly meeting, comes just weeks before Seminole State takes full ownership of 28.57 acres adjacent to the current campus on Jan. 1. The land, which was formerly occupied by three car dealerships, will triple the size of the campus.

"This is going to be a center for education across this region," said Dr. Joe Sarnovsky, Executive Vice President for Seminole State.

Seminole State Trustee Alex Setzer said the master plan is unique.

"This is an idea whose time has come. Ten years from now, every college will be doing this, and I'm proud of us for being the first to do it."

The College will rely on first-in-Florida public/private partnerships to fund the construction.

The approved master plan will be sent to the Florida Department of Education for final approval. Sarnovsky said the College plans to introduce the final plan to the community and possible partners during a series of forums in February.

The Altamonte Springs Campus, which opened in January 2008, is at capacity, with about 4,300 students taking classes there this semester. The campus offers a full slate of courses and is the base for all healthcare programs.

In March 2010, Seminole State’s board approved the acquisition of 28.57 acres adjacent to the current campus for $22.5 million. The master plan calls for the construction to be completed in nine phases. The first phase begins in January, when Seminole State gains full access to the three car dealerships and parking spaces on the adjacent property.

According to the master plan, the three current car dealerships – 90,000 square feet of space – will be retrofitted to house certain student services and offices, helping to ease overcrowding at the campus. In addition, 1,400 new parking spaces would be created.

As envisioned by HuntonBrady Architects, the plan would include 950,000 square feet for classrooms and academic space, enough to accommodate more than 9,000 full-time students. In addition, the plan calls for 450,000 square feet for public-private partnerships and retail.

Developed after considerable input from the community, the city of Altamonte Springs, students, faculty and staff, the new master plan depicts a linear campus mall of green space and buildings rising seven to 15 stories. Two parking structures would incorporate retail on their ground floors and solar panels and trees on the top floors.

For more information about the campus, please visit the Altamonte Springs Campus homepage.

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