If development plans for USF Sarasota-Manatee and New College of Florida come to fruition, North Sarasota could become a "college town."
At last week’s North Trail Redevelopment meeting, reps from and made presentations about their proposed 10-year and master plans.
Both colleges’ plans, which are required by state law every five years, would significantly increase the size of campus and expect a much larger student body. The plans, they said, would help the continued effort to better the North Trail.
USF’s Richard Lyttle said the increase in student body alone is a benefit to the area. “Our students are passing by your businesses everyday,” Lyttle said.
Both New College and USF are planning to work together to develop a plot of land adjacent to North Tamiami Trail into private partner retail space. Lyttle said the space could be filled by a Barnes & Noble, which would also double as the school’s bookstore.
Lyttle said the school would put out a request for proposal for the bookstore retail development, and the school would provide infrastructure.
USF Sarasota-Manatee Five-Year Plan
- Purchase the property and make that the first student housing on campus.
- Have 25 percent of the student body living on campus
- Construction of new academic buildings
USF Sarasota-Manatee Proposed 10-year Plan
- Build a Student Life Center
- Build more residential halls
- Purchase other nearby properties, such as a self-storage unit
- Construct an auditorium that would hold 500 people, which is more that double the size of its current auditorium
USF Sarasota-Manatee Proposed Long-Term Plan
- Work with FDOT to create medians to slow traffic on Tamiami Trail
- Put in traffic signals at entrances to the campus
- Anticipating 10,000 students
- Create access to Sarasota Bay at the rear of the campus
USF’s plan is all about growing and scaling quickly. With the college being awarded accreditation, the school can now hire its own staff, develop programs, etc. USF is now slated to enroll freshmen and sophomores for the first time ever, Lyttle said.
"We now get to control more of our own destiny," he said.
USF’s master plan has not been officially adopted yet. Lyttle said the school’s board of trustees is expected to vote on the plan later this year.
New College Plan
New College’s 10-year plan was developed in 2007, but New College’s Jake Hartvigsen said the plan really looks out 40 years in advance.
Part of the plan adopted four years ago, Hartvigsen said, is already coming to fruition.
“It was an ambitious project,” he said. “With the new development you are seeing on our campus; new academic center, residence halls that were built couple of years ago, you can see some of this coming to life.”
The college’s more long-range goal is to gradually move the center of campus toward the residential halls. The school’s current student body of 850 is the largest the campus has ever had. Hartvigsen said the school hopes to reach an enrollment of 1,200 in the next 10 years. Part of the school’s expansion plans is to take over the car museum property on the corner of U.S. 41 and University Parkway.
New College purchased the land a few years ago, and the museum’s lease runs out in 2013. Hartvigsen said the school would not renew it.