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FAU's Board of Trustees Dream Big

Every year the FAU BOT gets together for a two-day long workshop called the Board Retreat where they discuss a number of things like how we're doing and where we're going. They discuss challenges and ambitions as well as the politics and finances involved in bringing our goals to life.

We'll be talking about this as a two part series, but today I thought it would be most interesting to look at how the BOT responded when asked, "If you had an unlimited budget, what would FAU look like 20 years from now?" Divided into three breakout groups,they came up with the following ideas (categories mine):

- A fully residential campus, with 75% of students in on-campus dorms.
- Greek Housing and a Thriving Greek Life (all three groups wanted Greek Housing)
- Davie Campus Residential Halls
- High School Residential Halls
- Housing/FAU/Scripps/Max Planck with Private Developer

- New Basketball Arena
- Roof for Football Stadium
- Indoor Tennis Stadium
- Add Men?s and Women?s Track and Field teams
- Beach Volleyball Stadium
- University Golf Course

- Dental School
- FAU offering graduate and undergraduate STEM degrees
- Establish/expand lower division programs on Davie Campus
- Narrow focus of academic offerings to best serve community/market needs
- Coordinate with Broward College to reinforce 2+2 and master degrees
- Add Science, Medical Business to Scripps and Max Planck

- Hi-speed rail line to Boca Raton campus
- Academic Center
- Hotel/Welcome Center
- First-class Student Union
- Electronic Video Billboard on the Spanish River exit
- Conference Center adjacent to College of Business
- More contiguous campus
- Parking garage
- Charter Lab School ? High STEM, Oceanographic and Marine Science Masters
- Physical presence of Woods Hole Institute, Jacques Cousteau Society, Navy, Private Sector, all marine research institute

- Monetize FAU?s west Boca parcel
- Develop Southeast corner
- Convert Barry Kaye Hall to ten stories
- Buy properties east of El Rio
- Fully developed teaching/research campus
- Global marine science leader
- Lease facilities to Nova
- Strategic Class Offerings
- The bio-science hub of the eastern U.S.
- Derive money from the bio-science cluster
- Recognized as National Science Center
- Increase Science offerings at undergraduate and graduate levels
- Visiting faculty offering summer STEM courses
- Visiting faculty seminars for FAU faculty
- Retraining K-12 teachers for STEM

I know this is "pie-in-the-sky" stuff and a lot of it may never happen, especially with regards to buildings now that the state is no longer matching donations which is a big deal because a new building could cost $30M and it's much "easier" to raise $15M than a donation of $30M.

But I wanted to comment on a couple things anyway, for better or worse:

- HOUSING: I don't think it would be a good use of money to offer high school dorms (what?) or dorms at the Davie campus. Beside Boca, we only have student housing on the Jupiter campus, and the only reason we offer it there is to attract more people to the Honors program. The rest I agree with, though 75% is way too high. 25% would even be fine, because if the enrollment is 40k in 20 years (which it could easily be 40K+) then that's 10K people on campus... and I think that's the number we need to shoot for.

- ATHLETICS: Strange they don't mention a new baseball stadium. Maybe it just slipped their mind. I had thought about a University-owned golf course too but wondered if we really needed that considering how many excellent courses there are in Boca already (unless they meant buy one of those... if you can even do that)

- ACADEMICS: Dental school is a good idea, though that initiative was defeated recently as a number of Florida universities were looking into it (FAU, UCF, FAMU, if I remember correctly). Personally I think we need a pharmacy school more than a dental school. People should realize, however, that professional students tend to be way more loyal to their undergrad than their professional schools when it comes to donations in the future.

- OTHER DEVELOPMENTS: Hi-speed rail... well, there is an initiative to get commuter service going on the tracks that run along Dixie Highway, and they've also talked about establishing new train stations there (Dixie and 20th) and downtown Boca at Mizner... can you imagine? First-class Student Union, Hotel/Conference Center, electronic video board, physical presence of research centers... all good things. Especially Woods Hole, if we could get them here. I know what "contiguous" means but I'm not sure what they mean by "more contiguous campus" unless they mean to start cutting out more of the satellite campuses...

- BROAD INITIATIVES: Barry Kaye Hall to 10 stories? That's... that's definitely dreaming big, that's what that is. "Buy properties east of El Rio" YES, YES, YES. Muy importante. As far as "develop southeast corner", I suppose they mean the idea to build more Innovation Village Apartment-style housing south of the University Village Apartments... or maybe something else entirely.

Interesting stuff! More on the way from the Board Retreat in Part 2.



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