UWF outlines university’s future, master plan
PENSACOLA, Fla. – University of West Florida (UWF) officials outlined an updated campus master plan for the growth of the university for the next 20 to 30 years Monday at a public forum on campus. Plans include mixed use facilities to house classrooms and academic space, residence halls, and retail space; a new student union, an events center, parking garages, restaurants, a hotel/conference center and a football stadium.
“UWF is becoming more of a first-choice school, and to be fully competitive, we must offer a more robust college experience,” Bense said. “UWF’s hallmark of a quality education will not change, but this plan for our future will allow us to have state-of-the-art facilities and offer a more holistic student experience.”
UWF enrollment surpassed 12,000 students in the fall, and by 2015, the university projects 14,000 students, with 30 percent of students living on campus. Currently, about 4,000 students come from outside the local eight-county area, highlighting the need for increased on-campus housing options.
As the student population grows, UWF will also add faculty positions, bringing additional intellectual capital to the region. Further, through the ongoing Academic Visioning process, UWF is assessing which programs and skills are needed in the business community and focusing efforts on preparing professional employment-ready graduates.
A key feature of the updated campus master plan is University Park, which is expected to be a public-private partnership where private investors build the facilities, and the university’s business enterprise leases the space. Private businesses would also bear the cost of construction of the hotel/conference center and restaurants.
“These types of public-private partnerships are the model for the future,” said Matt Altier, UWF vice president for administrative services. “They allow the university to continue to develop and grow, even as state resources are constrained. The developments will bring enhanced revenue to the university to further enhance our strategic priorities. It is a win-win scenario.”
Also included in the plan is specialized housing for military students, Greeks, married students and faculty/staff.
A Request For Proposals (RFP) has already been announced for the hotel and conference center, and an RFP for University Park will be announced in April.