By Sky Morrison
A new era is dawning for Florida Tech as it readies to welcome a new president, and with him, his changes for the future.
T. Dwayne McCay will take the helm of the university in the summer of 2016. He plans to maintain tuition for students for the duration of their undergraduate education, foster communication between students and administration and build national credibility as an academic powerhouse.
“We are going to be one of the best engineering schools in the country and everybody’s going to give us credit for it,” said McCay at a recent Residence Life-sponsored town hall meeting.
To accomplish his mission of “educating the best” and conducting research to benefit the world, McCay plans to stop university expansion completely — a plan that is drastically different than that of President Anthony Catanese who grew the university 800 thousand square ft. during his tenure in office.
“We are about full,” McCay said. “We could grow maybe 10 percent but we can’t grow much more than that.”
McCay will exchange expansion for “depth.” According to Greg Tsark, the university architect and vice president of Facilities Operations, the university will reinvest in the facilities Florida Tech currently owns.
Students can expect reinvestment to take many forms including expanded and more efficient parking, a new multi-disciplined research building located adjacent to the Olin Life Sciences building, and updates to the Quad Residence Halls, Tsark said.
A medical school is another academic addition on Florida Tech’s horizon. McCay hopes to establish a 320-student medical school by Fall 2019 in which priority would be given to Florida Tech pre-med students. According to McCay, local hospitals have already been contacted for potential residency programs.
To McCay’s mission of impacting the world, Florida Tech is investigating the creation of a Sustainability Living/Learning Community.
The proposed community would transform Evans Hall into a sustainable, smart living facility featuring solar energy and live displays monitoring water usage and energy expenditures. Residents would also grow and maintain a community garden.
“We want it to be a place where residents could participate in a community on campus where they can practice sustainable living habits in not just what they do but in literally how the building functions,” said Zachary Eichholz, the president of the Residence Life Sustainability Committee.
Eichholz hopes the community will bring residents back to Evans Hall and generate more revenue for the University.
According to Jessica Keleher, Evan’s Resident Assistant, the hall’s maximum occupancy is 68 students but only 17 residents currently reside in the building. The lack of residents costs the university more than $150 thousand per semester in revenue.
“I’m proud of how far we’ve come in the last decade,” Tsark said. “I feel the university is well positioned…for the future but that’s all said with the acknowledgement that there is still a lot to be done.”