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HCC delays opening South Shore campus

Changes to the layout, which means less walking, push back its opening to May.

By Traci Rader, Times Correspondent
Published February 15, 2008



The opening of Hillsborough Community College's new $16-million South Shore campus has been pushed back to May.

The 55,000-square-foot facility in Ruskin was projected to be finished by January, but changes to the campus layout prompted the delay.

The three buildings will be more consolidated, meaning less walking for students. They will house administrative, faculty and student services offices as well as 10 classrooms, a nursing lab and classroom, a science lab and classroom, and a student union.

"We rethought our costs and changes," said Dr. George Keith, HCC's South Shore campus president. "It's always a logistics issue. It takes time to reschedule the contractors and subcontractors."

When the 60-acre campus is fully built out within 10 years, HCC officials expect to have six buildings near 24th Street SE and Shell Point Road.

Initially, the campus will offer general education courses for associate's degrees, as well as classes in business and early childhood development. As enrollment grows, HCC officials expect to add programs such as emergency medicine and nursing.

One thing HCC doesn't have to worry about is land, which was donated by the Dickman family of Ruskin. The Dickman family's love for education goes back to the early 1900s when they co-founded Ruskin College, which later burned down.

At the Ruskin campus, Keith said he hopes to initially double the enrollment of 256 that the school has at temporary quarters in Sun City Center.

The HCC campus, along with the new regional library and a future community center, are important signs of progress," said Fred Jacobsen, president of the Ruskin Community Development Foundation.

Jacobsen's foundation will be forming a scholarship program to attract students to the upcoming medical and emergency training program at HCC.

And the HCC campus will have some environmentally friendly features. Rainwater will be collected, filtered and used in toilets. Natural materials will be used wherever possible.

The timing for the new campus is perfect because it closely follows growth patterns, said Steve Stancil, interim dean of student services.

"It was a startling stroke of foresight. This is one of those rare times when you can forecast exceptional growth in an area. South County has long been thought of as a sleepy little agricultural area, but that model is changing."

[Last modified February 14, 2008, 22:21:49]

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