LAKEWOOD RANCH -- State College of Florida's Board of Trustees voted unanimously Tuesday to begin negotiating a contract with an architectural and engineering firm to design a new classroom building on the Bradenton campus.
"New 9," as it is known, will be a two-story, 36,000-square-foot academic and faculty office building. It will replace three outmoded buildings, including 9, 9A and 3, said Chris Wellman, director of SCF Facilities Management.
The board approved contract talks with the Clearwater firm of Williamson Dacar Associates, which scored the highest ranking of 10 firms bidding the job, Wellman said.
Williamson Dacar designed and built Building 18 on the Bradenton campus, Wellman said.
Should Wellman fail to negotiate a contract with Williamson Dacar, the second- and third-ranked firms, Bradenton's Fawley Bryant Architecture and St. Petersburg's Harvard Jolly Architecture, respectively, would be next up, said Board Chairman Carlos Beruff.
The vote came during a special meeting that lasted roughly 20 minutes at the Lakewood Ranch campus.
Board member Ed Bailey asked how much weight local vendors should be given in the ranking. Local is considered "Florida," Wellman told Bailey.
"We should try to use Manatee and Sarasota counties when we can," Bailey said.
The college, which hasn't had a new building on its Bradenton campus in about five years, would build New 9 in a grassy area in the northwest section of campus, directly north of Building 18 and west of Building 10.
"The importance of tonight's action is that we feel we are being responsive to the needs of our institution by replacing these outmoded buildings," said SCF President Carol Probstfeld.
The goal is to break ground on New 9 late this year and to have it open for students and faculty in the fall of 2014, Wellman said.
The board also set its next regular meeting for 5:30 p.m. May 29 at Lakewood Ranch.
Before Probstfeld became president, standard beverages at board meetings were coffee and water. Probstfeld previously politely asked Mike O'Malley, SCF director of food services, if he had a bit of tea. Numerous packets of English breakfast tea, the president's favorite, were on the beverage table Tuesday.
"You can bet we will have tea at our board meetings," O'Malley said with a grin.
Richard Dymond, Herald reporter, can be reached at 941-748-0411, Ext. 6686.