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EFSC Cocoa Campus Enters New Era With $87 Million Master Plan

EFSC Cocoa Campus quad redesign render
An artist's rendering shows the new main entrance from Clearlake Road to the EFSC Cocoa Campus and the STEM Building for science classrooms and labs included in an $87 million 10-year Master Plan.

April 11, 2022

Eastern Florida State College announced the start of a new era Monday for its Cocoa Campus with a plan to invest $87 million to build new academic buildings, student housing and make major improvements to the campus grounds.

The master plan was presented to the EFSC Board of Trustees, with college officials saying it will ensure the campus is a vital center for higher education into the future with a focus on programs for high-technology careers and general education.

The investment is the largest planned capital outlay the college has ever made on any of its four campuses.

“This plan will transform the campus and help move our community forward in important ways, giving students first-class learning facilities and helping spur economic growth,” said EFSC President Dr. Jim Richey.

“It’s an exciting, once-in-a-generation opportunity to reimagine the campus’ role and what it can provide to students, Space Coast industry and the Cocoa community. I’m thrilled about its future. It’s going to have a significant impact and benefit everyone.”

The 10-year plan, illustrated in this video, is the result of nearly a year of work that included input from students, employees and local residents.

The highlight is $87 million in new facilities for fields such as aerospace technology, engineering technology and advanced manufacturing. New and renovated buildings will also house classrooms and labs for healthcare, science and other programs.

In doing so, the plan reflects the workforce needs of area businesses and industry for highly skilled employees, including commercial space companies at Kennedy Space Center, other high-tech firms and healthcare providers.

The campus will also stay true to its long-standing mission for general education that allows students to earn a two-year Associate Degree before embarking on a firm career path or moving on to a Bachelor's program at EFSC or other colleges and universities.

EFSC Cocoa Campus Quad
The Cocoa Quad will be reimagined with a new Advanced Technologies building seen center left and a revitalized amphitheater.
Most of the funding for the projects is being requested through appropriations from the Florida Legislature and follows $22 million the college has spent in recent years on a range of Cocoa campus upgrades.

Some of the master plan work is already underway with the college spending $1 million this year to repaint campus buildings and improve landscaping.

Here is a look at the projects and their cost:

  • $14.5 million to construct a new Advanced Technologies building for several programs such as aerospace and engineering technology.
  • $14.5 million to construct a new STEM building for science classrooms and labs.
  • $15.8 million to renovate the Health Science Center for healthcare programs and dentistry.
  • $21.6 million to construct a new planetarium to replace the old structure that sustained severe damage from Hurricane Irma in 2017 and is permanently closed.
  • $16 million to construct a pair of Student Housing apartment units for on-campus living that will accommodate 192 students.
  • $5 million for grounds improvements, including new walking paths around Clear Lake, lakeside pavilions, green space for students to gather and a revitalized amphitheater.

“The new facilities will be state-of-the-art, giving students access to the best technology, equipment and labs, making them the go-to place for learning,” said Richey. 

Cocoa campus student housing
Two L-shaped student housing buildings shown in this artist's rendering would be built along the southern edge of Clear Lake where an old gym and pool are slated to be razed.
Two L-shaped student housing buildings shown in this artist's rendering would be built along the southern edge of Clear Lake where an old gym and pool are slated to be razed.

He also said the Student Housing “will make Cocoa a destination campus where students can live and study,” noting Student Housing apartments on the Melbourne Campus are highly successful with wait lists to move in.

The campus will remain home to key collegewide services for the Cocoa, Melbourne, Palm Bay and Titusville campuses.

Among them are the Career Planning and Development Center that prepares students for the job market; Military and Veterans Service Center that assists veterans, their families and active duty service members; Financial Aid; Information Technology; Human Resources; the Registrar's Office and Accounting. 

Furthermore, the campus will continue to host initiatives such as the Pentagon-sponsored Advanced Composites Learning Center that trains technicians in innovative technologies for the Space Coast’s aerospace and defense industries.

To make way for the new facilities, old structures that date to the mid-1960s, are badly deteriorated and at the end of their useful lives will be razed. They include two classroom buildings and a gym and pool formerly used by the Central Florida YMCA.

The planetarium will also be demolished after an engineering study conducted following Hurricane Irma found serious safety issues. Plans to raze the four structures and pool are currently underway.

“The master plan is a real game-changer that will spotlight the Cocoa campus in new and vibrant ways. I can’t wait to see what it will look like when completed,” said Richey.

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