June 23, 2017

FMU Master Plan includes Honors Center, more downtown development

FMU Master Plan includes Honors Center, more downtown development

Francis Marion University has seen its campus grow steadily the past two decades.

Based on an updated Campus Development Master Plan unveiled at Thursday’s regular Board of Trustees meeting, the pace of expansion won’t slow in the near future.

The updated plan lists the renovation of the former Federal Post Office Building in downtown Florence, adjacent to the University’s recently constructed Health Sciences Center, as FMU’s capital priority. University officials plan to turn the 30,000-square foot facility into classroom space to support FMU’s expanding School of Health Science.

The plan’s list of priorities also includes the proposed Honors Learning Center, which would support the fast-growing FMU Honors program; and a new classroom building that would jointly house the University’s School of Business and School of Education.

New to the Master Plan is a proposed renovation for the main campus entranceway signage off Highway 501/301.

FMU President Dr. Fred Carter says growing the physical plant in a measured, responsible manner is a vital component of FMU’s mission.

“Growth to meet critical meets is important to the life of any university,” says Carter. “As always, we’ll be prudent in capital strategies. We’ll raise the money we need before we build, and we’ll make sure the necessary facilities are available when our students and faculty are ready for them.”

University officials are working to develop funding for all the projects on the updated Master Plan.

At Thursday’s meeting, trustees also approved a budget for the 2017-18 fiscal year. The $57,322,251 budget includes a three percent increase in tuition. University officials say the increase will help pay start up costs for FMU’s new Speech Pathology program and cover rising employee healthcare and retirement benefits mandated by the state.