Seminole State College first formally requested funding from the Florida Department of Education to remodel Building L back in 2005. After 14 years, those renovations on the Sanford/Lake Mary campus are now complete for the Fall 2019 semester.
The new building offers 33,000 square feet of contemporary furnished spaces that showcase a new Academic Success Center, faculty offices, smart classrooms, and sections reserved specifically for E-Learning and academic services.
Building L also provides students with a second Canteen Cafe, serving a variety of on-the-go snacks along with the school’s second on-campus Starbucks. The café features an outdoor courtyard. The Wharton-Smith, Inc. Construction Group’s press release said the “1960’s-style building underwent an extensive renovation and space reconfiguration that emphasizes natural lighting.”
Hector Dietsch, Seminole State’s director of facilities, said the construction was developed in two phases that followed the guidelines of the U.S. Green Building Council Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, known as LEED, green building rating systems.
He said that during the first phase of construction, which included the renovation of the third floor (completed in the summer 2011), the facility achieved a LEED Gold certification, making Building L the first LEED certified building on any SSC campus. This award authenticates that a structure was designed and built to improve performance in areas like: energy saving, water efficiency, reduction of carbon dioxide emissions, improved Indoor Environmental Quality, and resource conservation.
Sustainable materials used in the construction, Dietsch explained. The release from Wharton-Smith also said the renovations included using reclaimed water for irrigation and the transfer of construction materials from landfills.
Laura Ross, the college’s vice president for Academic Affairs said deparetment personnel had a role in designing the renovation.
“We brought together representatives from departments that were planning to move into the renovated L Building or use the classrooms for instruction,” Ross said. Those representatives included people from the Academic Success Center, Honors program, the Math Department, English Department, the Faculty Center for Teaching and Learning, Global Engagement, E-Learning Department, Curriculum Department, Academic Services, Academic Affairs, and the IT and Facilities Department. The collaboration was lead by HuntonBrady Architects.
Ross said everyone is pleased with the result.
“Most importantly, [they] are thrilled that students are using the L building and its services as [they] had imagined,” she said.
One of the key goals determined at these meetings for Building L, Ross said, “was to make the Academic Success Center more visible and inviting to students, in hopes that they would more frequently use our free tutoring services.”
She explained that students who use the tutoring services often have higher grade point averages.
“At this point in the semester, we have already had more students using this free service in the new location,” Ross said.
Building renovations are not stopping with the Building L, said college President Dr. Georgia Lorenz.
The sinkhole problems discovered this year under the Sanford/Lake Mary Center for the Performing Arts has not affected any future plans on that campus, Lorenz said. Renovations are still underway on the performing arts center, also called Building G, which is currently closed.
Building V on the Sanford/Lake Mary campus will also see some repairs regarding its heating, cooling and ventilation system. Lorenz said the college has asked for funding from the state to complete both Building G’s repairs and V’s HVAC system along with funding for a second instructional building on the Altamonte Springs campus.
Building H on the Sanford/Lake Mary campus is also being remodeled to become a new “Raider Center for Athletics, Wellness, and Recreation for students,” Lorenz said. The goal is to integrate fitness and recreational spaces that focus on the well-being of the academic community.
For more information about future and past renovations, visit the Facilities Management page, specifically under the “Projects” tab, on the SSC website.