On Friday, April 8 at 10 am. Santa Fe College will have a ribbon cutting ceremony for Blount Hall, its new GNV campus. Before it starts filling up with people in hot pursuit of a better future, here’s a photo essay exploring a shell of a building that holds endless promise for its future students
“It’s a big deal because we get the opportunity to expand our services to an underserved population that we found here in the east part of Gainesville,” Mable Baker, interim director of the Blount Center, told The Sun.
The $36.5 million building will be at 530 W. University Ave. The 87,366-square-foot, three-story building will include 24 state-of-the-art HyFlex classrooms, lab suites, business incubation spaces and student support services: Gainesville Sun.
President Broadie said that Blount Hall will expand access to a college education to many underserved communities in Gainesville. The completion of Blount Hall will help shatter equity gaps that the president had pledged to do at his inaugural address: Santa Fe College.
“We were intentional and mindful in deciding the types of programs that we would offer here at the Blount center with this new expansion because we wanted to make sure that we met the community in a holistic way.” Mable Baker
The center also has intentions to act as a cultural hub due to the fact that the building is in the heart of the Pleasant Street Historic District, a historic Black residential neighborhood that was founded after the civil war: Gainesville Sun.
“There’s so much around us that pre-existed many of the spaces that we have here, and so the community itself has its own culture … and so when I say that cultural hub, we want to invite the community in to serve them in this space.” Mable Baker
“This is really establishing in the heart of Gainesville a presence here that, again, will be a convenient location for people to get to.” SFC Spokesperson Jay Anderson told The Alligator.
“When we got here we were often at odds with our neighbors.” But over the years “they have become our best” supporters. Former SFC President Jackson Sasser.
The building will roughly double the business incubation space previously at the Blount Center for SFC’s Center for Innovation and Economic Development (CIED). It will also serve as a convenient location for students to complete their degree and certificate programs in business and information technology and offer full associate’s degrees for students looking to transfer: The Alligator.
The Blount Center opened in 1990 in the renovated 6th Street railroad depot, expanded in 1993 with the addition of the renovated Gainesville Gas Co. Building, and again in 2006 with the new Blount Classroom Building: Santa Fe College.
“We are part of the downtown renaissance,” Jackson Sasser.
“We need to keep our North Star very clear in front of us, this idea that everyone can learn:” Jackson Sasser.