Florida Southern College continues putting its mark on its Hollingsworth lakefront with construction of the France Family Admissions Center, a dramatic building at Lake Hollingsworth Drive and Callahan Court.
Work by Rodda Construction is halfway complete and is expected to be finished this fall, weather permitting, according to Terry Dennis, FSC vice president of finance and administration.
From the street, the swooping roofline and large, multi-story lobby framed by glass and red steel is likely to remind passersby of the nearby Becker Business Building (2015), which anchors the east end of campus, and the Christoverson Humanities Building (2010), which marks the western edge of campus.
Those two buildings were designed by Robert A.M. Stern, dean of the Yale School of Architecture, as were the lake-facing Wesley Hall and Nicholas Hall dorms, completed in 2008-2009.
The architect for the admissions building is Jeff Baker of Mesick Cohen Wilson Baker Architects. He was hired, Dennis said, because of his expertise in the architecture of Frank Lloyd Wright, who designed 13 buildings on the campus.
While this is Baker’s first new building for FSC, he supervised construction in 2011-12 of the college’s Wright-designed Usonian House at Frank Lloyd Wright Way and Johnson Avenue.
The new building is needed because the Admissions department has been working out of three different houses, Dennis said. The building needed to be big enough to hold all of the Admissions staff from web design to marketing to admissions counselors.
“We deal with so many applicants, to just be able to run the groups through one building is what we wanted,” Dennis said.
Eventually all three houses that currently house Admissions will be removed and the corner of Callahan Court will be redeveloped, Dennis said.
While public records the college filed with the city of Lakeland disclosed that the building is being named for the France Family, college spokeswoman Kate Whitaker declined to discuss the donors for whom the building is named. That information will be revealed, if donors approve, in a press release closer to the building’s dedication, she said.
The two-story, concrete-and-steel structure will reach a height of just over 40 feet. About two dozen offices are planned for the 19,000-square-foot building. They range from a room for counselors to interview students to larger offices for several staffers to collaborate.
“There will be a semi-circular monitor where they can show different displays to talk about the college,” Dennis said.