(Bradenton, Fla., Nov. 29, 2022) — State College of Florida, Manatee-Sarasota (SCF) held a groundbreaking ceremony today for the SCF Venice Science and Technology Building, the first new construction on SCF’s south county campus since 1995. SCF faculty and administrators, donors, and special guests attended the event. The new structure will significantly improve and expand science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education opportunities for students at SCF Venice. It is expected to open during the Fall 2023 semester.
With a final cost likely to exceed $5 million, construction of the new facility could not have been undertaken without the Florida Legislature’s support and more than $4 million in appropriations over the past two years. State Representative James Buchanan (R-74) has been an ongoing advocate for the project. Speakers at the groundbreaking ceremony included SCF President Dr. Carol F. Probstfeld, Executive Vice President and Provost Dr. Todd G. Fritch, and Rep. Buchanan’s district aide and SCF alumnus Thomas Saavedra.
“I am SCF Proud of our institution’s ability to be nimble, responsive and flexible to meet the higher education needs of our service region,” said Probstfeld. “With the addition of this laboratory building, we’re going to produce more nurses, engineers and scientists.”
Saavedra, who earned his associate in arts degree from SCF in 2020, is particularly familiar with the science facilities at Venice. A native of Sarasota whose parents emigrated to the region from Colombia, Saavedra worked as a lab assistant tasked with demonstrating proper techniques for using natural science equipment at SCF Venice during his time as a student.
The 8,913-square-foot Science and Technology Building will feature new classrooms, laboratory space, faculty offices and collaborative areas for students. Upgrading and expanding resources for students studying for STEM careers is important for preparing graduates to succeed in the modern workforce.
In addition to the appropriations from the Florida Legislature, local philanthropy has been essential to funding the new building. The support of local donors through the SCF Foundation helped cover final construction costs and the purchase of necessary equipment to outfit the building when it opens.
Tandem Construction is the general contractor on the project. Hepner Architects managed architectural design of the building. The same pair of companies worked on the science facilities that opened in February 2021 at SCF Bradenton.