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Jax Daily Record Wednesday, Apr. 18, 201809:08 PM EST

Jacksonville University projects transforming campus

College adding welcome center, nursing and elder care facilities and more.

Jacksonville University, the 84-year-old private liberal arts college based in Arlington, continues to transform its 260-acre campus.

Property to the north is becoming a health care center for teaching, learning and serving.

JU President Tim Cost.

JU President Tim Cost said during a February interview that Dolphin Pointe Landing on

that site will be transformed into “the whole world of nursing and elder care.”

That work is evident.

JU has been taking solid steps toward adding two significant structures – a medical building on the property to the north as well as a welcome center on the main campus at 2800 University Blvd. N.

A three-story, 105,000-square-foot medical arts and health sciences building is planned on 6.6 acres at 3412 University Blvd. N.

The site is part of the almost 55-acre Dolphin Pointe Landing, which is owned by OLT II Inc. The ownership is led by JU graduate Gregory Nelson, who is based in Dayton, Ohio.

Taylor & White Inc. is the civil engineer.

The medical structure is planned at northwest University Boulevard and Dolphin Pointe Boulevard.

“This building is part of our continuing partnership with Dolphin Pointe to create an integrated medical community,” said Margaret Dees, senior vice president of enrollment and communications.

Already under development is Dolphin Pointe Health Care, a two-story, 100,000-square-foot, 120-suite skilled nursing center. Development began in December 2016.

The new building is another phase at Dolphin Pointe Landing.

“We are continuing to advance plans to house our growing health sciences students and we anticipate as Dolphin Pointe develops that our students will be fully integrated into that community and this will ultimately provide them with excellent opportunities for clinical practice training,” said Chris Sapienza, dean of the Brooks Rehabilitation College of Healthcare Sciences.

JU reported previously the three-phase project is envisioned to include assisted and independent living and provide as many as 500 long-term jobs in the Arlington community.

A March 23 aerial photograph of the 120-room Dolphin Pointe Health Care skilled nursing center under construction north of Jacksonville University.

Nelson applied to the city to amend the Planned Unit Development of the property to account for a previous sale of 4.88 acres for construction of dorms.

He also wants to increase the maximum height of the structures on one of the parcels to 60 feet to accommodate the three-story medical center.

“The proposed building will contain a mix of health related series including: orthodontics, urgent care, occupational therapy, a mental health clinic, a speech clinic, administration, health related learning centers, support areas, and related and similar uses,” the application says.

The Rogers Towers law firm is the applicant for Nelson.

The project is expected to provide real-world learning experiences to students at the university’s Brooks Rehabilitation College of Healthcare Sciences.

The St. Johns River Water Management District is reviewing a permit application and the city has issued a Concurrency Reservation Certificate for the medical building. The district said it intended to grant a permit.

A welcoming center

JU plans a welcome center, which also will be used as an admissions center, on less than an acre near the entrance to its main campus.

The single-story, 11,750-square-foot building is planned between the Gooding and Howard Administration buildings.

The district and city are reviewing those plans, too. Prosser Inc. is the civil engineer.

Dees said it’s been a longtime goal to create a dedicated visitors center to showcase the campus.

“Our enrollment growth and the increase in guests to campus over the last five years certainly moved the need for such a place up on our priorities,” Dees said.

“In the last year alone, we had almost 10,000 visitors and guests for campus visits, tours and admissions events – nearly 4,000 more than just three years ago,” she said.

Fall 2017 enrollment was 4,222. While almost two-thirds of the resident students are from Florida, the population at the campus represents 48 states and almost 50 countries.

There are 580 student athletes.

$50 million bond issue in review

City Council is prepared to assist.

Ordinance 2018-227, introduced April 10, authorizes the issuance of up to $50 million in tax-exempt Higher Educational Facilities Revenue Bonds on behalf of JU to finance capital improvements on its main campus and to refinance previous bonds.

The bonds are not a city debt or liability. The bill authorizes a negotiated sale of the bonds to a chosen underwriter.

As the beneficiary, JU will assume all costs and repayment obligations.

Legislation background information outlines the uses. JU will use the proceeds to:

• Build a three-story building to house the Brooks Rehabilitation College of Healthcare Sciences; the ordinance specifies that the Brooks Rehabilitation building will be three floors and 104,000 square feet. The College of Healthcare Sciences contains the Keigwin School of Nursing, the School of Applied Health Sciences and the School of Orthodontics.

• Renovate existing residence halls built in the 1950s and ’60s

• Build the welcome center/admissions office

• Make smaller capital improvements on the main campus

• Install furniture, fixtures and equipment in the new and renovated buildings

• Refinance a portion of an earlier bond issue in 2006 that supported construction of several buildings on campus.

A public hearing is scheduled April 24 and a council vote is expected May 8.

JU said the use of tax exempt bond financing is the key to funding growth and is common in private higher education.

Just north of Dolphin Pointe Landing on the JU campus is the Alumni House, which is being renovated for a Department of Occupational Therapy doctoral program and an Occupational Therapy ADL Lab.

“We have a wonderful opportunity to utilize the City of Jacksonville as our issuer as they provide us access to funding which supports healthcare education, so our new academic building dedicated to healthcare sciences seemed like the ideal project to be the anchor of this bond issue,” said a statement from Senior Vice President of Financial and Facilities Management Randy Freebourn.

JU said the new building doesn’t affect the existing Brooks Rehabilitation College building except that it will be repurposed to academic needs because JU needs that space as well.

Dolphin Pointe Landing also is the site for another health care project that JU has discussed — the Alumni House renovation for its new Department of Occupational Therapy doctoral program and an Occupational Therapy ADL Lab.

The city approved a permit Friday for Melton Construction & Renovations to remodel the two-story, 6,330-square-foot house at 3412 University Blvd. at a cost of $65,000.

JU said in February the renovations and site work will cost about $500,000 for what a memo provided by JU says will be called the Nelson Occupational Therapy Rehabilitation Health Center.

There’s more than medical development ongoing, as well.

JU filed plans with the city for a proposed 8,590-square-foot field house for men’s and women’s lacrosse.

Stellar Group Inc. is the contractor for the $1.6 million construction project. PQH Design Group Inc. is the architect.

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