August 11, 2020 – Last October, Santa Fe College leaders held a ceremonial groundbreaking for the expansion of the Blount Center in downtown Gainesville. This week, the next major step in the project commenced as construction crews began the demolition of structures on the college’s property located at the northwest corner of West University Avenue and North Sixth Street, including SF’s Center for Innovation and Economic Development (CIED).
Once demolition is completed, construction will begin on a three-story 87,366 square-foot facility that will become the Blount Hall. The new facility will become the new home for the college’s Business and IT degree programs and will offer students a full array of student services, transforming the location into a comprehensive downtown campus. Students will be able to access admissions, financial aid, academic advising as well as a library and study spaces for both small and larger groups of students. The Blount Campus will also provide a convenient location for underserved communities in the city of Gainesville to access higher education opportunities in high-demand, high-wage fields of study.
Funding for the project comes from both the private and public sector, including more than $13 million in state funding, a $4.8 million grant from the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) and $1 million in private support. Funding from the EDA will specifically be used for the expansion of the CIED’s business incubation space for local entrepreneurs in order to strengthen the region’s economy and provide students the opportunity to work and learn from local start-up companies and business leaders.