USF has been trying to get a good downtown footprint for a while now, without much success. First there was the Port Authority building in Channelside, then CAMLS.
It's difficult for them, with a more prestigious university on the other side of the river and HCC occupying Ybor. They'd probably have more success out at Davis Islands, directly adjacent to TGH (where they already have two facilities, at 2 Tampa General Circle and 17 Davis Boulevard).
I agree. I have advocated for a long time that our educational facilitates in the urban core need help and incentives to grow. Any vibrant city I have ever lived in or visited has always had a visible higher education presence in the city. It really makes perfect sense, young and educated individuals add vibrancy to any environment; then add in their ability for creative start ups or desire for high paying jobs and its a perfect storm.
Moving to Tampa Bay. USFSP is the most urban campus in the region and I love what they are doing. Would not be surprised to see them break away from USF umbrella in the next 15-20 years. One factor that I think is really holding them back, despite the lack of student housing, is Albert Whitted Airport and the schools lack of ability to develop vertically. (I am working on a research assignment currently about the benefits/disadvantages of small urban airports if any one is interested)
On the other side of the bay University of Tampa is in perfect position to be that urban campus that we all desire but their administration seems to be oblivious to the enviable position they are in with location to downtown and the desire for millennials to live in urban environments. I would love to have a conversation with those in the administration about why they do not integrate themselves into downtown. I know they argue safety, but I just got back from a trip to Savannah and you cannot walk down a block with seeing a SCAD building. UT should never build another administrative building. Instead they should rent office space in some off campus locations and use the open land to develop vertically for student housing. All the great urban campuses do not delineate between on and off campus, instead they simply flow into the fabric of the city.
I would love to see USF continue to develop their medical programs downtown, I'm not sure why they do not consider investing other programs downtown (ie business, architecture, etc.) It seems from my conversation with USF students and alumni that the student body is dispersed all over the Bay area so it would not have that much of an impact on student travel. In my opinion, this would help increase USF's visibility to employers and attract a higher quality student, especially for graduate programs.
As for Stetson, I would like for nothing more than them to increase their presence at the Tampa campus but this will never happen. First, students are restricted to the number of credits they can take their (and its a small number). Second, the only reason that campus was built was to decrease the likelihood that another player entered the legal education market in Tampa Bay and continue their monopoly. Further, the Tampa campus was built mostly for part time students and their part time enrollment has decreased drastically since Cooley opened. I really believe Stetson missed a once in a lifetime opportunity to build a real urban campus in close proximity to numerous courthouses and law firms, get in on the ground floor of the Tampa Heights redevelopment and be an anchor for that area, and completely re-brand and revitalize the school.
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