Wait for FAMU’s CASS building will be a year longer
By Ki-Jana King
Students who were expecting to have a one-stop center to complete their service needs next fall will have to wait a little longer.
Funding for construction of the four-story building was cut from the budget during the recently completed legislative session. That has forced the project back to next fall. It was expected to be opened for the upcoming fall session of classes.
Ground was broken last June for the Center for Access and Student Success on Wahnish Way in space once occupied as a parking lot on the north end of Gaither Gymnasium. Completion of the project will cost $39 million.
Meanwhile, construction has been ongoing as FAMU was approved to spend $16 million of Public Education Capital Outlay dollars. The work being done on the 82,000-square foot building now is primarily to complete infrastructure on the project.
The building will be used for admissions, financial aid, counseling and health services. It also will house the Office of Student Affairs and Student Activities.
Students have been eagerly waiting for the day they could get all of the services they use on campus in one stop.
“I wish I could be here to see the finished product,” said Haleem Brown, a senior psychology student, who graduates this semester. “Maybe I’ll see it when I come back for homecoming in 2020.”
Former Student government president Justin Bruno pushed for the project being sped up. But the delay has caused some disruption of foot traffic. It has also caused the cancellation of the FAMU Relays, which would have taken place at the nearby track.
However, State Representative Ramon Alexander is optimistic that the delay won’t be longer than a year. The needed balance of $21 million should be cleared in the next legislative session, he said.
The project is too important to delay funding further, he said.
“It is critical for Florida A&M that we consolidate services under one stop,” Alexander said. “When you look at the retention and progressing rate and our ability to meet the performance metric standard, this facility will give us the advantage to make sure students are served and receive the necessary resources to be successful.”