Hillsborough Community College's (HCC) SouthShore campus in Ruskin is planning to expand.
With the recent purchase of a 20-acre site adjacent to the campus
at 551 24th St. N.E., HCC SouthShore
is expecting to add a second building by 2015 and a third by 2020.
“Our campus has grown more than anyone had anticipated,” says Dr. Allen Witt, president of the SouthShore campus. “The college realized with its recent growth and potential future growth, we need more land.”
Previously used for farming purposes, HCC purchased the land on September 8th for approximately $1.3 million from Centex Homes
. Centex had originally intended to use the acreage for a new planned community. When that didn't happen following the downturn in the Florida housing market, the SouthShore campus entered negotiations.
“Land adjacent to a campus is very precious,” says Dr. Witt. HCC was able to "acquire a space that will give us enough room to expand for many decades to come, meeting the needs of this growing area
The HCC SouthShore campus is operating currently at almost four times the original anticipated capacity. Scheduling classes on weekends, bringing in numerous portable units and using every inch of available space has allowed the campus to exceed projections for the year 2020; nearly 6,000 students
enrolled in courses at SouthShore for the 2010-2011 academic year.
“Enrollment has exploded and is only going up,” says Dr. Witt. “This is really the first time there's been higher education south of the Alafia River
(in Hillsborough County) and there's a huge unmet need for higher education in this part of the county
. This land will allow us to meet that need, as well as the needs of future generations of students to come.”
There are no definite plans as to what the expansion will entail, but the campus' 5-year Master Plan
aims to direct future growth and SouthShore is seeking state funding to help with the costs.
Writer: Alexis Quinn Chamberlain
Source: Dr. Allen Witt, HCC SouthShore