EFSC plans $87 million construction investment in its Cocoa Campus

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1922

Eastern Florida State College (EFSC) says it plans to invest $87 million at its Cocoa Campus, with planned construction of new academic buildings and student housing, and  major improvements to the campus grounds.

The master plan was presented on April 11 to the EFSC Board of Trustees, with college officials saying it will ensure the campus is a vital center for higher education into the future with a focus on programs for high-technology careers and general education.

The investment is the largest planned capital outlay the college has ever made on any of its four campuses, the college says in a statement.

“This plan will transform the campus and help move our community forward in important ways, giving students first-class learning facilities and helping spur economic growth,” EFSC president Dr. Jim Richey said in a statement.

“It’s an exciting, once-in-a-generation opportunity to reimagine the campus’ role and what it can provide to students, Space Coast industry and the Cocoa community. I’m thrilled about its future. It’s going to have a significant impact and benefit everyone.”

The 10-year plan, illustrated in this video, is the result of nearly a year of work that included input from students, employees and local residents.

The highlight is $87 million in new facilities for fields such as aerospace technology, engineering technology and advanced manufacturing. New and renovated buildings will also house classrooms and labs for healthcare, science and other programs.

In doing so, the plan reflects the workforce needs of area businesses and industry for highly skilled employees, including commercial space companies at Kennedy Space Center, other high-tech firms and healthcare providers.

The campus will also stay true to its long-standing mission for general education that allows students to earn a two-year Associate Degree before embarking on a firm career path or moving on to a Bachelor’s program at EFSC or other colleges and universities.

Artist rendering of Cocoa Quad and Advanced Technologies Building

The Cocoa Quad will be reimagined with a new Advanced Technologies building seen center left and a revitalized amphitheater.

Most of the funding for the projects is being requested through appropriations from the Florida Legislature and follows $22 million the college has spent in recent years on a range of Cocoa campus upgrades.

Some of the master plan work is already underway with the college spending $1 million this year to repaint campus buildings and improve landscaping.

Here is a look at the projects and their cost:

  • $14.5 million to construct a new Advanced Technologies building for several programs such as aerospace and engineering technology.
  • $14.5 million to construct a new STEM building for science classrooms and labs.
  • $15.8 million to renovate the Health Science Center for healthcare programs and dentistry.
  • $21.6 million to construct a new planetarium to replace the old structure that sustained severe damage from Hurricane Irma in 2017 and is permanently closed.
  • $16 million to construct a pair of Student Housing apartment units for on-campus living that will accommodate 192 students.
  • $5 million for grounds improvements, including new walking paths around Clear Lake, lakeside pavilions, green space for students to gather and a revitalized amphitheater.

“The new facilities will be state-of-the-art, giving students access to the best technology, equipment and labs, making them the go-to place for learning,” said Richey.

Artist rendering of Cocoa student housing; two L-shaped buildings with lake in background
Two L-shaped student housing buildings shown in this artist’s rendering would be built along the southern edge of Clear Lake where an old gym and pool are slated to be razed.

He also said the Student Housing “will make Cocoa a destination campus where students can live and study,” noting Student Housing apartments on the Melbourne Campus are highly successful with wait lists to move in.

The campus will remain home to key college-wide services for the Cocoa, Melbourne, Palm Bay and Titusville campuses.

To make way for the new facilities, old structures that date to the mid-1960s, are badly deteriorated and at the end of their useful lives will be razed. They include two classroom buildings and a gym and pool formerly used by the Central Florida YMCA.

The planetarium will also be demolished after an engineering study conducted following Hurricane Irma found serious safety issues. Plans to raze the four structures and pool are currently underway.

“The master plan is a real game-changer that will spotlight the Cocoa campus in new and vibrant ways. I can’t wait to see what it will look like when completed,” said Richey.

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