Library & Learning Center at State College of Florida, Manatee-Sarasota

By: | Issue: September, 2018
August 30, 2018

A new 63,000-square-foot library provides students at a Florida community college with space for using technology and overseeing building projects—including subcontractor coordination and contractor quality control—and developing strong ties with the community and local businesses, such as DTC Engineering.

Challenge: State College of Florida, Manatee-Sarasota began construction of the new Library & Learning Center in 2017, but Hurricane Irma halted progress.

“We had to shut down the site a week in advance of the hurricane and secure anything that had the potential to become a flying projectile,” says President Carol F. Probstfeld.

After the hurricane, the surrounding area had no electricity for more than a week. Many subcontractors also left to help in other parts of the state that had sustained heavier damage.

Solution: The construction team devised a seven-day workweek with multiple shifts to stay on track. Now, the library—which opened just a month behind schedule—showcases technology such as a 270-degree immersible video wall.


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A nursing student studying the human heart, for example, can stand and watch, up close, a presentation on the organ while collaborating with other students in real time.

The library also contains a film production suite, an editing room and 3D printers. “Our students are now at the center of everything with an eye toward using technology,” says Probstfeld.

Cost: $18.7 million

Completed: February 2018

Project Team: Architect: Williamson Dacar Architects (Fla.); contractor: Cutler Associates (Fla.); structural engineer: Weber & Tinnen P.A. (Fla.); mechanical, electrical and plumbing
engineer: Engineering Matrix Inc. (Fla.); civil engineer: Jensen-Group (Fla.); landscape architect: Booth Design Group (Fla.)