Eastern Florida State College is getting larger, and if all goes as planned the trend won’t stop anytime soon.
As classes began Monday morning at EFSC, a feeling of excitement filled the air on the Melbourne Campus. But it wasn’t just first-day jitters that permeated through the growing school. The campus was abuzz as students, faculty and staff gathered to break ground on another major expansion.
In the coming months, a new Health Sciences Institute will be built and with it will come labs for nursing, radiography, surgical technology and other fields of study. The $20 million institute will house 12 new and existing healthcare programs.
“The institute opens a new era in training healthcare professionals who will serve countless people in Brevard, the Eastern Florida region and the state for decades to come,” said EFSC president Jim Richey to a crowd gathered on the future site.
Richey said this institute alone is expected to contribute about $6.3 million annually to the local economy.
The 65,000 square-foot building is slated to be open by January 2017.
But the Health Sciences Institute is just one part of a massive 10-year expansion plan for the Melbourne campus. It is the second of six buildings to be constructed, and comes just months after the opening of the new Public Safety Institute. Next on the agenda will be a new business building, technology building, hospitality management building and student union.
“It’s a pretty ambitious plan, I will tell you, but we will hopefully over the next ten years be able to accomplish a lot of these,” Richey said. “Having two out of the six done within two years, I’m obviously very pleased.”
In harmony with the Melbourne expansion, other EFSC campuses will see some changes in the coming years as well. The fire academy will relocate from Port Canaveral to the Palm Bay campus where it will be expanded into a “state of the art” facility, said Jack Parker, associate vice president for the public safety institute and campus security.
“We will have our own road with hydrants on it … the future is very bright for this,” he said. “We can make it one of the state-of-the-art fire academies in the state of Florida, if not the best.”