October 21, 2014
Businesslike

Photo:

Rendering of UWF's Planned University Park

Higher Ed

Businesslike

Charlotte Crane | 8/30/2012

The University of West Florida has devised a strategy for coping with declining state funding, which has fallen by nearly 47% in the past five years.

A year ago, the school created a non-profit called Business Enterprises Inc. to give it a vehicle for business-style expansion. President Judy Bense hired Matt Altier as the organization's CEO. Altier previously held a similar post at New Jersey's Stockton College.

For starters, the university bought the country club next door. Purchased for $2.2 million with aid of a $1.1 million bank loan, Scenic Hills Country Club is profitable, says Altier — declining to be specific.

Other moves include:

» A more favorable contract with dining vendor Chartwells

» A new campus dental clinic, which charges fees

» A planned hotel and conference center complex

» A planned University Park, a campus center to include a football stadium — for a future team — a 165,000-sq.-ft. student union, arena, student housing and garages. Plans also include a 55-and-over active retirement community targeting UWF alums.

» Development of cultural heritage tourism. Altier is urging Pensacola to capitalize on its colonial history and put into play some of UWF's 28 historic properties. Infrastructure would include monuments, a Colonial Archaeological Trail, 10 bed-and-breakfasts, boutique hotels, a ferry and a trolley and would cost some $50 million, Altier estimates, but could produce a $1-billion impact. He's hoping for a share of BP RESTORE funds.

UWF's project contributions will include land leases, alumni connections and marketing campaigns, says Altier. Business Enterprises board member Ray Jones, a former hotel owner and developer, says UWF will be partnering with private businesses in upcoming developments. "Projects will be bid out in a competitive fashion — and absolutely good for the economy."

Digital Access

DIRECT DIGITAL ACCESS
Add digital to your current subscription, purchase a single ditgital issue, or start a new subscription to Florida Trend.

TABLE OF CONTENTS
An overview of the features and articles in this month's issue of Florida Trend.

ACCESS THIS ISSUE »

Florida Business News

Florida Trend Video Pick

Adam Smith on the final gubernatorial debate
Adam Smith on the final gubernatorial debate

Adam Smith, Political Editor for the Tampa Bay Times, tells you what to watch for in the final debate between Rick Scott and Charlie Crist, which takes place Tuesday night. 

Earlier Videos | Viewpoints@FloridaTrend

Ballot Box

Florida's final gubernatorial debate is tonight on CNN. Will you watch it?

  • Yes
  • No

See Results

Ballot Box
Subscribe