Categorized | Campus, Environment, News

Northeast campus expansion to include a conference center, commercial restaurants, hotel

In December the newly formed University of West Florida Business Enterprises Inc. sent out a proposal for bids to develop a hotel and conference center on campus.

The addition would add to the already expansive plans put forth in the Campus Master Plan that, among other things, calls for the construction of a football stadium, multiple parking garages, and a road that would encircle campus.

The proposal calls for a 125- to 150-room hotel and up to a 10,000-square-foot convention center to be developed on 16 acres at the northwest corner of Campus Drive and U.S. 90 that the University will lease to the winning developer for 99 years.

Just how much the project will cost is uncertain at this point since it will be the developer who fronts the bill, but the figure has been estimated at multi-million.

The hotel project and wider campus development are being headed by Matt Altier, who the University hired last July as vice president of administration.

Altier, chief executive officer of UWF Business Enterprises, comes to UWF from The Richard Stockton College of New Jersey, where he served as vice president for administration and finance and was responsible for campus development and forging public-private partnerships like the one proposed for the hotel.

Altier held the same position at California State University, Sacramento where he developed a non-profit organization, University Business Enterprises, similar to the one he recently formed here.

In Sacramento, he negotiated the purchase of a four-star hotel and implemented a residency internship program with Sacramento State’s hospitality management program.

Altier said the UWF hotel would partner with the University’s hospitality management program to give students real-world experience as undergraduates.

“We envision the hotel/conference center to be a busy, university-centered business, attracting visiting families, alumni, associations, faculty and staff groups, the community and even tourists to our area,” Altier said.  “The stronger and more successful the hotel becomes, the better the potential for high quality, real-world learning and training for our students, additional resources and additional revenue for UWF.”

Revenue, Altier said, because the development contract would entail a negotiated form of profit sharing.

Altier said he couldn’t say exactly how big of a slice the University will get of the hotel’s earnings because  that figure will have to be negotiated once a developer is selected.

Bids for the development are due March 21.

The hotel and conference center are just one of many planned additions in the University’s future, however. First on the to-do list after the hotel and conference center is the construction of a new student union to replace the Commons again a public-private endeavor, one in which the developer would pay for construction, Altier said. The student union is slated to be built next door to the football stadium also included in the plan, where the practice field and tennis courts are now.  The reason these public-private partnerships are being sought is because state funding has dried up, Altier said. The last of the Public Education Capital Outlay, or PECO, funds from the state are going toward the completion of the new College of Business building under construction behind the library.

In all, the Campus Master Plan outlines such sweeping changes that graduates returning to the University a decade from now will likely not recognize their alma mater.

A full copy of the plans can be found online at uwf.edu/campusmasterplan/Documents.cfm.

Will Isern
Contributing Writer 

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8 Responses to “Northeast campus expansion to include a conference center, commercial restaurants, hotel”

  1. Themoppetal2 says:

    The reason Ron Paul votes against various things like what you explained in this article is because he firmly believes in the “Non-Aggression Principle” that says that people should be able to freely interact with each other and do whatever they want as long as they aren’t threatening or initiating force, coercion or aggression against one another unless in the case of self defense. If we lived in a society with a truly free market corporations wouldn’t dare do the things they do to get richer like they do today as it simply wouldn’t be wise business practice. If they did they would surely go out of business because no one would buy anything from them. RP does address the fact that corporations send in their lobbyists or write the laws themselves so that they can create their own monopolies and that’s what he means by corporatism. Austrian Economics is based on the Non-Aggression Principle and it says in a nutshell that people are free to buy and sell whatever they want as long as they don’t infringe upon the rights of other individuals. So if someone or a group of people were to become under rule of corporation in a 100% free society then it would be their own fault. That scenario would be very unlikely in a free society because it just wouldn’t be wise business. The reason he said he would have voted against the Civil Rights act is because it would force a private business owner to sell to everyone. I must say this again, the Non-Aggression Principle is against the use or threat of force but in order to fully understand this you have to fully understand the theories of private property as well. Once again if we truly lived in a free society it would not be a wise business opportunity for a business owner to sell to only white people or whatever color. I think that everyone on this page would agree that we don’t live in this type of society. If you listen to what Ron Paul says with an open mind and understand the basics of the Non-Aggression Principle you will understand why he thinks the way he does. Everyone should also research “Voluntaryism” also. I don’t mean to start any heated debates as my main goal is to get people to think about the facts rather than what they hear other people say.

  2. Chantal says:

    Awesome article, HALEY!  So proud of my baby sister!!!!!!

  3. Ethan says:

    Great article. Haven’t read something this level-headed in ages.

  4. saic says:

    Well if i remember correctly, libertarians (at least the ones who don’t worship Ayn Rand like she was the second coming) see regulation as the purview of the legislature and judiciary.  Paul’s echoed this a bunch of times before; environmental Tort law, anybody? He even opposed oil subsidies on the grounds that they are anti-free market. Other things that are actually positive about his policies is putting many decisions in State hands. What’s positive about it? Right now the Federal congress is a one-stop shop for lobbying. With decentralization, all the single-issue orgs and corporations and special interest groups and unions that like to flavor our elections with green will have to spread the love and the lobbyists 50x thinner, which sounds like something right off of an Occupy plank. But that’s about where my fascination with him ends. I swear, everyone that takes the podium is either a liar, a coward, a loon, or a fringe genius with only half a puzzle. Are we being too picky? Are we asking for too much? One thing’s for sure: the political gods haven’t smiled down upon us in half-a-century.

  5. saic says:

    You forgot: he also bears an uncanny resemblance to Lord Voldemort from the harry potter series.

  6. Trr7 says:

    Great article 

  7. Concerned says:

    Aren’t the houses, and community center located in the middle of the Baars-Firestone Nature preserve?  

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