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News Clips 12/10/2012
FAU to keep some classes in downtown Fort Lauderdale
Source: Sun Sentinel, 12/7/12
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By Scott Travis
Fort Lauderdale doesn't have to bid farewell to Florida Atlantic University just yet, as the university plans to maintain a presence at its downtown tower.
After proposing in April to shut the campus down by July 2013, FAU now says some of its programs, including architecture and masters of business, will stay put. So will about 300 of its 700 students. The FAU sign is expected to stay on the building as well.
But the school still plans to shift the focus of its Broward County programs to Davie, which has about 6,000 students and is the university's second largest after Boca Raton. Several Fort Lauderdale programs, including graphic design and multimedia studies, will move to Davie during the summer, with Broward College taking over the space.
The Fort Lauderdale building is starting to resemble a ghost town, said Stephanie Cunningham, a graphic design professor. "The staff have been bailing. Their jobs have an expiration date," she said.
FAU has agreed to turn the unused portion of the building over to Broward College, which already has classes and its administrative headquarters next to the FAU site.
"This will support Broward College's desire and need to expand in downtown Fort Lauderdale," President David Armstrong said. "Our downtown enrollment and program expansion has grown tremendously in the last five years. However in the last year the opportunities for growth have been limited due to space constraints."
The future remains grim for the SeaTech Ocean and Systems Engineering campus in Dania Beach. FAU eliminated its classes last spring and required SeaTech to become self sufficient through its research. That hasn't happened and FAU officials say it's a matter of time before the campus closes.
"There is ongoing research activity there until the facility can be relocated,'' said Anthony Abbate, associate provost for the Broward campuses.
The closing of the downtown campus was expected to save about $1.9 million a year, while the SeaTech cuts are expected to save $239,000. Those savings were based on administrative cuts, not program reductions, said Dennis Crudele, senior vice president for finance. The university has laid off some staff while others have resigned and not been replaced.
FAU announced its plans to close and scale back campuses in April after the state cut $24.7 million of its funding. The first casualty was the Treasure Coast campus in Port St. Lucie, which shut down last summer.
The university found it would be difficult to move the architecture program to another campus, because of its need for a large amount of contiguous space, officials said.
"The School of Architecture has unique space requirements and was concluded that it was more expensive to duplicate identical space on another campus," Crudele said.