USF Asking for $22.5M More For Downtown Site

Sep 23, 2015
Originally published on September 22, 2015 8:31 pm

The University of South Florida has already received $17 million from state lawmakers for a new building that would house its medical school and heart health institute in downtown Tampa. 

Now comes word that university officials are going to seek an additional $22.5 million for the project in the next fiscal year - money they say they likely can't finance the project without.

The Tampa Bay Times reports that USF System President Judy Genshaft told the State University System of Florida Board of Governors Tuesday that a smaller amount would cause problems.

“It would not be optimal for us to delay,” Genshaft told the board of governors at a workshop meeting in Orlando on Tuesday when asked by board of governors member H. Wayne Huizenga, Jr. about whether the money could be split over a couple of years.  

Genshaft said getting $22.5 million from the Legislature in 2016 would help keep the construction on schedule to begin in August 2017 with an eye toward completion in 2019.

According to USF's presentation to the board's Facilities Committee, the university is planning to request an additional $33.2 million in fiscal 2017-18, bringing the state's total appropriations to the project to $110 million.

The remaining $41 million will come from private sources: an $18 million gift USF has already received from med school namesakes, Frank and Carol Morsani, and over $22 million in additional private support.

Since the meeting was considered a workshop, no formal action was taken. The Board's next full meeting is scheduled for November 4-5 at Florida International University in Miami.

The multi-story building would house the Morsani College of Medicine as well as the new USF Health Heart Institute. It's part of Tampa Bay Lightning owner Jeff Vinik's billion dollar plan to redevelop forty acres of land surrounding the Amalie Arena in the Channelside District downtown Tampa.

In addition to USF's structure, a medical office facility would be built next door, along with a parking facility with room for up to 1,800 vehicles. USF Health plans to have research facilities located in that adjoining structure.