Florida Gulf Coast University Approves Financing Plan for New Fitness Center

Preliminary plans call for the facility to eventually consist of 118,000 to 130,000 square feet.

The Board of Trustees at Florida Gulf Coast University (FGCU) in Fort Myers has approved a plan to pay for a new $18 million Student Academic Health and Life Fitness Center.

The Naples Herald reports that funding for the project will come from several sources: $8.2 million from the Capital Improvement Trust Fund, which is supported by student fees; a loan of $5 million from the FGCU Financing Corp.; a gift of $3 million from the FGCU Foundation; and a gift of $1.8 million from two private donors. 

The initial construction of the fitness center will be the first of two or three phases, said Amy Swingle, the university’s director of campus recreation. Preliminary plans call for the facility to eventually consist of 118,000 to 130,000 square feet. 

“This has been a priority of our president since 2009,” Swingle said. “The stumbling block has always been, ‘How do we get it funded?’”

Florida Gulf Coast has selected Harvard Jolly Architecture and Hastings+Chivetta to design the facility. The school still is waiting for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to approve the proposed site, and s road to the site must be built before the university can move forward with building the fitness center.

“Hopefully, we can break ground within the next year,” Swingle said.

The university needs a larger facility to meet the increasing demand of students for fitness and recreation programs, the university said. Florida Gulf Coast’s existing fitness facility is 9,000 square feet and was built to serve 4,000 students. The university now has nearly 15,000 students—5,000 of them living on campus. 

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