BRADENTON -- A Bradenton architectural firm was picked to design the University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee instructional facilities for a marine science program at Mote Marine Laboratory in Sarasota.
Arthur Guilford, regional chancellor of USF Sarasota-Manatee, announced Friday the choice of Fawley-Bryant to draw up the plans for the 4,000-square-foot space in an existing three-story building.
Sarasota-based Willis A. Smith Construction Inc. also was chosen to complete the build-out, Guilford said.
"We're excited to have these two local companies," he said. "And we're right on
schedule to be ready forstudents in the fall of 2013."
Guilford made the announcement at a Manatee County Chamber of Commerce luncheon where he and Judy Genshaft, president and CEO of the USF system, spoke.
Rick Fawley, a principal in the architectural firm, which has an office at 1001 Manatee Ave. W. as well in Lakewood Ranch, said he was thrilled and honored.
"Two of the most important institutions in the area are collaborating," Fawley said, "and we will be part of it."
He said he also was pleased with the effect the working relationship the university and Mote have established will have on Manatee and Sarasota counties.
"This is the wave of the future," Fawley said. "The synergy created by one (institute) supporting the other improves the quality of life in the community."
Kumar Mahadevan, Mote's president and chief executive officer, said he was happy about the choices for architect and contractor, as well as the speed that USF is moving to complete the project.
"The signing of the agreement in February was a watershed moment for both organizations," Mahadevan said. "It's been a long time coming."
He said it was important for the university on U.S. 41 in Manatee County to begin offering undergraduate courses in science and technology.
"It's not only great for Mote," Mahadevan said, "but for a lot of other research and development institutes in Sarasota and Manatee counties."
He said the world-renowned marine research institute has had 150 interns from all over the country, but it would be great to have local young people studying at Mote.
Guilford mentioned that the local campus will begin teaching its first freshman class in the fall of 2013 after 40 years of only upper-level undergraduate, graduate and continuing education classes and programs.
"We even received our first application (for that first freshman class)," he said.
The agreement also provided for USF to appoint some of the 35 research scientists to faculty positions.
Mahadevan said theconstruction should goquickly because the WillisA. Smith firm was the original builders of the Ann and Alfred Goldstein Marine Mammal Research and Rehabilitation Center, where the USF facility will share space.
Along with classrooms, there will be wet and dry teaching laboratories, a support room, two research labs, offices and a lounge.
"The students can hang out and watch the dolphins play," Mahadevan said.
The project will cost $1.5 million and the university will be seeking monies from corporations, foundations and philanthropists to pay for it, Guilford said.
"We've started a Scientific Partnership fundraising program," he said.