MANATEE -- The State College of Florida is moving forward with the construction of a new academic building to replace the social science building, also known as Building 9, on the Bradenton campus.
The board of trustees voted unanimously last week to adopt a $5.16 million contract with Gates Butz Institutional Construction of Bonita Springs, a full service construction management, general contracting and design build firm.
Gates Butz Institutional Construction offered the lowest bid of four construction companies. Bids for the construction contract opened Nov. 14.
Christopher Wellman, director of facilities management at the State College of Florida, said the top priorities for the State College of Florida are a new academic building to replace Building 9 at the Bradenton campus, a new library at the Bradenton campus and improvements to the student union on the Venice campus.
Wellman said the social science building is the oldest and in need of repair. A
new building is part of the school's five-year capital improvement proposal to the state approved by the board of trustees in June.
The building was built in 1966. Demolishing the 47-year-old building and replacing it is cheaper than renovating it, Wellman has 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.
Kathy Walker, spokeswoman for the State College of Florida, said the replacement will be a 36,000-square-foot academic building with classrooms and faculty offices.
Walker said Monday construction will start soon. The new building is expected to be completed by the start of the fall 2014 term.
Walker said a combination of Public Education Capital Outlay funds and State College Florida general funds will be used to pay for the new building.
Walker said the new academic building will replace "outmoded 1960s buildings."
"The new building will house general elective courses that all students take, as well as faculty offices that will better accommodate students who want to consult with their professors," Walker said via email.
Other academic building projects by Gates Butz Institutional Construction include Ave Maria School of Law in Naples and various projects at Edison State College in Fort Myers.
"I am very excited about Building 9," Wellman said at the meeting Tuesday. "It is an accomplishment."
Erica Earl, education reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7081.