MIAMI GARDENS — Florida Memorial University on Monday marked the end of construction on one building and almost simultaneously started a new one. The university broke ground on a multi-purpose Arena & Wellness Education Center and cut a ribbon at the new Science Annex, adjacent to the existing M. Athalie Range Science Hall.


[optinlocker]The Wellness Center will include a gymnasium with two National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) Division II regulation basketball courts with seating for about 2,800 spectators. The building replaces the sports facility built in the 1960s that was razed about six months ago. Cynthia Curry, vice president of Finance and Administration, said the new arena, when completed in about a year, will tie FMU to the local community. The center is funded by Miami-Dade General Obligation Bond and a loan from Historically Black College and University Capital Financing. The construction costs for the science annex and the wellness center are $3 million and $10 million respectively.

“We had great use of it but it was time to go,” Curry said of the old facility.

“The gym will be open to the public. It will have locker rooms for our guests and a dance hall where they can host community events.”

The science annex, cofounded by Florida Blue, is an 8,000-square-foot, two-story structure equipped with a chemistry, biology and general labs.

FMU President Dr. Roslyn Clark Artis was joined by the Florida Memorial University Board of Trustees, Miami-Dade County Commissioner Barbara J. Jordan, Miami Gardens officials, representatives from Florida Blue, alumni and the U.S. Department of Education.