MANATEE -- A new library may soon be on the books for the state College of Florida Bradenton campus.
The State College of Florida Board of Trustees unanimously approved the five-year capital improvement program presented Tuesday by facilities management director Chris Wellman.
The program runs from fiscal year 2014-15 through 2018-2019. The college is required to submit an improvement plan to the state once per year.
Wellman said the top priorities for the State College of Florida are:
1. a new library at the Bradenton campus
2. improvements to the student union at the Venice campus.
3. a new science building at the Bradenton campus.
"This is just a wish list," said board Chairman Carlos Beruff.
The college would need more than $17 million from the state Legislature to build the library.
The money for school improvements is mostly provided by Public Education Capital Outlay funds for state schools based on need, but Beruff said it is also based on enrollment and politics.
"I like to live in the real world," Beruff said. "We shouldn't spend too much mental capital if it can't get funded. But things are looking up."
Wellman said the library built in 1977 does not have enough computer technology in its design and has poor indoor air quality.
The new library would include more student computer access, offices and independent and group study rooms.
Vice Chairman Craig Trigueiro favored putting the science building, built in 1958, on the priority list above the Venice campus student union project.
"I don't know why you would want to put a building that is 27 years newer ahead on the priority list. I'm done!" Trigueiro said.
The cost of a building an addition to the student union building would be a little less than $12 million.
"The space in the student union for the number of students is out of proportion at Venice," said State College of Florida President Carol Probstfeld.
The new building would house student activities, clubs, campus bookstore and security offices. Student population at the Venice campus has grown so much that the current student union space is inadequate.
The existing building, which houses food services and campus activities, would continue as a cafeteria and extra room for art studio and gallery space, added faculty offices or a collegiate school.
Trigueiro said he thinks the science building requires the most attention.
The social building is the oldest on the list, and Wellman said it is most in need of repair.
The building was built in 1966, and demolishing the building and replacing it is cheaper than repairs, he said. The building needs new heating, air conditioning and ventilation systems and is too small to accommodate class sizes. It is also not compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act.
The next steps involve funding.
Wellman said the capital improvement program goal is to have a more energy efficient and cost-effective campus.
"Next year we will talk about it way in advance so we can fine-tune," Beruff said.
While the board voted on its wish list for the coming years, some changes have already begun on the Bradenton campus.
The social science building replacement project was approved in April, and in May the board approved a contract with Williamson Decar to be the architect for the project. The new academic center is expected to be completed in the fall of 2014.
Erica Earl, education reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7081.