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Sunday, Apr 20, 2014
Education

University of Tampa plans parking, classroom building

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TAMPA — The cranes are returning to the University of Tampa.

Hot off the completion of an 11-story residence hall, UT has announced it will begin construction on a 7-story multi-use structure along West Kennedy Boulevard.

It will include four stories of parking and three stories of academic and administrative space, bridging North A Street and connecting to the existing Thomas Parking Garage.

The space not set aside for parking will include classrooms, faculty offices, student meeting and study areas, a Campus Safety Center and the Sykes College of Business Entrepreneurship Center. The Entrepreneurship Center is designed to bring together student entrepreneurs, educators and executives to help launch concepts and ventures.

“With this facility we hope to carve out a unique educational niche for interaction between UT’s entrepreneurially minded students and the Tampa Bay entrepreneur community,” UT president Ronald Vaughn said in a statement released by the university.

“This strong entrepreneurial environment will keep more bright young minds in the Tampa Bay area after graduation and contribute to economic development and startups in the region.”

The campus along the Hillsborough River in downtown Tampa has been growing at a torrid pace. UT hosted a record 7,343 students this fall, an increase of 5.5 percent from last year and more than triple the enrollment two decades ago.

The grand openings of the Peter J. Schoomaker ROTC and Athletics Building and a lacrosse stadium were held earlier this year.

The 11-story West Kennedy residence hall was the seventh built on the UT campus in the last 15 years. About 65 percent of UT students now live on campus.

The new building will also have a cafe with indoor and outdoor seating on the first floor.

A university spokesman said the building’s cost had not yet been determined. Construction of the parking portion will be completed in late 2014, with academic space ready in early 2015. Individual gifts and university funds will pay the bills.

jstockfisch@tampatrib.com

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