University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee



USF picks architects and construction company, hosts ideation sessions to shape vision for new Nursing/STEM building on Sarasota-Manatee campus

University Communications and Marketing

University of South Florida has selected architects and a general contractor for the planned Nursing / STEM building on the Sarasota-Manatee campus.

The architects are HuntonBrady Architects of Orlando and Tampa; and Baltimore-based Ayers Saint Gross, both of which have experience designing nursing and health sciences facilities for universities and other institutions. 

nursing stem

A rendering of the planned Nursing / STEM building on the USF Sarasota-Manatee campus.

The general contractor is Willis A. Smith Construction of Sarasota. The company has worked on various education-related projects in the region, including buildings at Ringling College of Art and Design in Sarasota, State College of Florida, Manatee-Sarasota in Bradenton and LECOM School of Dental Medicine in Lakewood Ranch.

Faculty members, staff, students and community members at two ideation sessions Monday, April 24, shared with architects what they would like to see in the Nursing / STEM building.

Participants told architects what physical features they’d like to see in the building – from biology, chemistry and nursing simulation labs to art displays to a sufficient number of charging stations for technology. They also shared ideas for what new or expanded academic programs they would like to see housed in the new building.

At the ideation sessions, Sarasota-Manatee campus Regional Chancellor Karen Holbrook and Earl Purdue, a principal with Ayers Saint Gross, told participants that the submitted ideas would guide architects as they begin to design the $61.7 million, 75,000-square-foot Nursing / STEM building.

Audience members wrote their ideas on large post-it notes and architects then affixed them to the wall of the Selby Auditorium, grouped under general themes, like laboratories, student success and the arts. The architects then encouraged participants to further describe what they would like to see in the new academic and research building.

Ideation Session

Dozens of USF Sarasota-Manatee campus faculty members, staff, students and community members participated in ideation sessions for the planned Nursing/STEM building

"We are thrilled to reach this important milestone in the planning and design of our new academic and research building, which is a centerpiece of our campus’s expansion," Holbrook said.

“No idea is too big or too small,” she said. “The whole idea is to explore the extraordinary.”

Community members also participated in the ideation sessions.

“We have great partners in Manatee and Sarasota counties. We want to hear from our friends, as we envision the building becoming a key engine of growth for a region we are proud to call our home,” Holbrook said.

“This is our first major project on the USF Sarasota-Manatee campus, with Ayers Saint Gross as design architect and HuntonBrady Architects as architect of record, and we look forward to designing a cutting-edge, technologically advanced facility for aspiring nursing and STEM professionals,” said Arash Kamangar, associate principal with HuntonBrady. “Our project team combines our national experience with recent STEM and health sciences buildings and our intimate knowledge of the local region and history of USF.”

Kamangar said the intent of the ideation sessions was to generate a large number of ideas that the team will filter and reduce “into the best, most practical, or most innovative ones to inspire new and better design solutions. … We will use the information gathered at these sessions to direct the start of our design process.”

The Nursing/STEM building, along with a student center and residence hall under construction, will transform both the appearance of the USF Sarasota-Manatee campus along U.S. 41, and the academic and other opportunities available to students, faculty, and the greater Sarasota-Manatee community.

Research has indicated that STEM buildings, which commonly include advanced laboratories that enable pioneering research, influence many prospective students' decisions on which university to attend. Additionally, STEM buildings aid in the recruitment and retention of faculty members.

Opening a Nursing/STEM building on the Sarasota-Manatee campus will allow a doubling of the campus's nursing program; introduce new majors in healthcare fields, engineering, the arts, and other programs; and address the demand for more spacious classrooms, teaching and clinical laboratories, and research facilities on campus.

The expansion of the Sarasota-Manatee campus will showcase USF's commitment to offering students an exceptional educational experience and position the university to effectively address the rising demand in the region for skilled professionals in nursing, business, science, engineering and other fields.

This will be the third major building on the USF Sarasota-Manatee campus, after the Crosley Student Center, which opened in 2006, and the student center and residential housing building, which is set to open for the fall 2024 semester. Together, the two expansion projects along the campus courtyard will more than double the amount of space on campus and provide students with a world-class learning environment.

The state and federal governments have already provided funding for the design of the Nursing/STEM building, and additional funding will come from the state, the proceeds of the annual Brunch on the Bay fund-raisers and a capital campaign.

For more information and to stay updated on the progress of the Nursing/STEM building project, visit the USF Sarasota-Manatee campus website

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