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South Shore News

HCC SouthShore to build $9.4 million science facility

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Published:   |   Updated: October 3, 2013 at 03:08 PM

RUSKIN —The Hillsborough Community College Board of Trustees has approve $9.4 million for a new science and classroom building at its south shore campus in Ruskin. It is expected to open for students in time for the fall semester of 2015.

The campus, which opened in 2008, has experienced rapid growth. It was built with the anticipation of 400 students and had more than 1,600 that first year. And it has continued to grow at a rapid rate ever since, according to campus President Allen Witt.

Witt said the Sept. 25 vote to approve the money was unanimous and design drawings for the new building are already in the works. Cutler Associates of Tampa will be the project’s construction managers.

“Our goal will be to create the maximum amount of quality instructional and office space within the constraints of a limited budget,” Witt said in an email to his staff. “I believe that we have the right team to take us to this goal.”

He called the money allocation the first step in a long process.

Because of the unexpectedly rapid growth at the Ruskin campus, Witt has had to bring in 18 portable classrooms to accommodate students. He has one biology classroom and needs five, he said recently. He said the new building will give the campus the quality science space it needs.

The classrooms used for science classes now will be set up as general education spaces.

If rumors turn in to reality and Amazon.com moves in to a one million square-foot warehouse facility next door to the campus, the growth is likely to continue.

A real estate company known to work with Amazon has pulled building permits for the site in Ruskin. And the county has offered an incentive package to get the company to come here.

yhammett@tampatrib.com

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