Hodges University broke ground Friday morning on a new, three-story academic building on its Fort Myers campus during a ceremony led by President Terry McMahan, who said the construction will accommodate a growing enrollment. School officials, the mayor and other city leaders were in attendance for the groundbreaking on Colonial Boulevard and Winkler Extension.
"The more than 20-year evolution of Hodges University has been influenced by our mission of offering degree and other programs which enhance the ability of students to achieve life or career objectives, said McMahan.
"With this new facility we are poised to elevate our programs to new heights and expand services for our students helping us to achieve the priority objective of improving educational opportunities for our student body.
"Our academic and community assets are our region's assets – and Hodges is committed to shaping the future of our region of Florida by providing a highly-skilled, well educated workforce to the business community.”
“This is a time to celebrate the expansion of Hodges University and its contributions to our citizens,” said the Honorable Randy Henderson, Mayor of Ft. Myers. “From City Hall, and on behalf of my colleagues and those of us who serve in public office, we commend you for your hard work. The city of Ft. Myers is behind you.”
“This is fantastic,” exclaimed Lee County Commissioner Tammy Hall. “It’s an honor for me to be here as a County Commissioner and recognize the expansion and opportunities that Hodges provides to all the residents in Lee County. I’m very proud of Hodges University and its student body.
“As we’re struggling to come out of the recession here in the area, the idea that we can actually be expanding our centers of learning is such a big coup for us. We’re talking to businesses from around the country that are looking to expand or relocate. They look at the weather we have here, our quality of life, the favorable taxing structure we have, but more importantly the incredible types of educational opportunities that we provide not only their employees but their children as well.
“You are an economic engine, and the county is 110% behind you. Thank you for being such a strong economic partner as we continue to create jobs in Southwest Florida.”
Since moving to its current Ft. Myers location in 2005, enrollment at the campus has grown nearly 80%.
The new building will also give the institution the room and facilities to add and expand its degree programs. Officials are researching several possibilities now, but said that more study is needed before they announce what those programs could be.
The new facility will house 19 classrooms, 28 faculty and administrative offices, computer labs, conference rooms and a full service student union with food court. All classrooms will have Smartboards and be video-capture enabled, each seating a maximum of 32 students.
The new facility is scheduled to open in the early 2012.
The project is designed by Ft. Myers-based Sheeley Architects, Inc.