Florida A&M finalizing construction management contract for $39 million student success center

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Rendering of the new building (A&M University)

Florida A&M University is finalizing a construction management agreement with Ajax Building Corp. to build a new $39 million Center for Access and Student Success in the middle of its Tallahassee campus.

Site work could start in about two months, and construction should be completed by the summer of 2019, the university says.

The project has been relocated from its original intended location at the site of McGuinn and Diamond halls on South Martin Luther King Blvd., The Tallahassee Democrat has reported.

The alternative location could save $1.138 million in construction costs but these savings are largely offset by a higher square footage and redesign costs, estimated at $930,000, meaning the net savings to the university would be about $208,000. The university has spent about $519,000 so far on architecture and engineering fees, with asbestos and lead-paint survey and IT costs.

“The Center for Access and Student Success will provide FAMU with a much-needed one-stop shop for students services,” said William Hudson Jr., vice-president for student affairs. “As we continue to promote high performance to our students, it is integral that we offer them the services, support, and infrastructure that will elevate their learning experience and environment.”

The center would house recruitment, admissions, financial aid, counseling and health services all under one roof. It also would house the Office of Student Affairs and Student activities.

The university has received $12.6 million in state capital projects funding and is seeking an additional $26 million in legislative funding.

The newspaper says the move to the Gaither site means McGuin Hall, which opened in 1938, and Diamond, which opened in 1947, are saved for future student housing under a public/private partnership. Both dorms are currently closed.