The FSU Board of Trustees recently granted approval for the renovation and expansion for the Swan Building Annex. This will mean big changes for the university’s Welding Engineering and Advanced Manufacturing programs.
“Conceptually, I think the goal is to give them space that will allow them to double in size of their enrollment,” said Michael Hughes, Associate Vice President of the Physical Plant. “Welding has a 2-year waiting list for students just to get into the program. It’s largely constrained by just classroom and lab space.”
Plans for the renovation will include extending the building about 25 ft. on its east side and about 100 ft. to the south to provide room for more classrooms and labs. The university will lose a significant number of parking spaces in the process. Hughes is unsure where new parking spaces will be added.
The process has also created a need to relocate the university’s osprey platform to the north side of the Swan building, which Hughes learned is actually a safer and more convenient home for the osprey. The platform was previously in the parking lot, causing sticks from the nest to fall and land on cars and pedestrians.
Before the planning team for the Swan project can move on with construction, the state government will need to approve the funds for the renovations. The team is optimistic that this will happen some time this spring or summer. It is estimated that construction will begin in about a year.
“It was evaluated by the governor and the state last year as the number one priority for a capital outlay project of all the higher ed. projects submitted,” said Hughes, “so we’re hopeful that we’ll stay in that priority order. It seems to be a type of project that the governor is saying he really values. It’s in a technical field; there are jobs for graduates at high demand. We’re pretty excited about it.”
The renovation of the Swan building is a part of a bigger project Hughes refers to as the “Master Plan,” which included the recent completion of the University Center. Other upcoming projects will include four new buildings in the West Campus Apartments, new residence halls, tearing down some older buildings on campus and the construction of a Virtual Learning Center to connect to FLITE and house the College of Education, Human Services and Digital Forensics programs.