MANATEE -- The State College of Florida is a step closer to starting construction on a new library at its main Bradenton campus.
Late last month, the college's board of trustees signed off on a general design for the library. The project has been in the works since it was first proposed in 2007.
Planned to better accommodate computers and technology than the campus' current, 38-year-old library, the new SCF Library and Learning Center will feature more than just books. Chris Wellman, the college's director of facilities management, told trustees the new library will include flexible spaces that can be redesigned to meet changing needs over time, a hollow floor that accommodates changing electrical and data connections, and numerous meeting and study spaces.
This week, SCF President Carol Probstfeld singled out several marquee features, including a "makers space" that will house 3-D printers and a teaching and visualization theater. The theater will put students in the middle of a room-sized, 270-degree projection useful for presentations, interactive learning, simulations and comparative social computing.
The new library, Probstfeld said, will have a "big impact on the success of the students at State College of Florida."
The entry floor of the two-story, 64,000-square-foot structure will include a unified point of service, individual and group study rooms, the makers space and dividable meeting space. Shaded student seating will be available outside the building.
Much of the second floor will be dedicated to housing
the library's book collection, as well as a coffee shop and student lounge area, according to Wellman. It will also feature a covered outdoor patio space.
The original vision for the library might have brought a larger building to the SCF Bradenton campus. College administration initially requested $41.6 million for the library. At the request of the college's board of trustees, the project was scaled down by nearly $25 million.
Wellman said the $17.6 million construction budget will cover the building and most of its fixtures. But the college will need to come up with about $1 million more to pay for some of the audio-visual equipment for the library.
Funding for the project has, in part, been provided by the state. In 2014, the state Legislature dedicated $8.7 million to the library.
Jamie Smith, the college's communications director, said the college has yet to establish a construction start date or a projected completion date for the library.
Status Update, published Saturdays, is the Herald's weekly look at the progress of construction projects throughout Manatee County.