Miami Today http://www.miamitodaynews.com The Newspaper for the Future of Miami Thu, 30 Jul 2015 15:23:12 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0.6 College rolls drop as economy climbs http://www.miamitodaynews.com/2015/07/28/college-rolls-drop-as-economy-climbs/ http://www.miamitodaynews.com/2015/07/28/college-rolls-drop-as-economy-climbs/#comments Wed, 29 Jul 2015 03:15:07 +0000 http://www.miamitodaynews.com/?p=28696 Enrollment in most local colleges and universities follows national trends, with slighter lower numbers since the recession. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, enrollment in post-secondary, degree-granting institutions increased between 1900 and 2013, with most of the increases occurring between 2000 and 2010. Enrollments for 2013, the most recent year recorded by the […]

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Enrollment in most local colleges and universities follows national trends, with slighter lower numbers since the recession.

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, enrollment in post-secondary, degree-granting institutions increased between 1900 and 2013, with most of the increases occurring between 2000 and 2010. Enrollments for 2013, the most recent year recorded by the center, were lower than in 2010.

Miami Dade College, the county’s largest post-secondary school, fits neatly into that paradigm, listing total students served at 174,645 for 2010-’11 and 161,632 for 2013-’14.

“It peaked right around the Great Recession,” said Dr. Rene Garcia, director of enrollment. “There’s always a relationship between unemployment and enrollment. There’s a tendency to come back to school to retrain or pick up additional skills.

“Since then we’ve lost a couple of [percentage] points at worst. We’re happy with that, because some schools have experienced loss in the double digits. And we’re still short of space during peak periods.”

Miami Dade College’s three biggest categories, he said, are its bachelor of arts, associate in arts and associate in science programs. Growth areas include health care; business, particularly entrepreneurship; criminal justice; psychology, and STEM fields. STEM is an acronym for science, technology, engineering and math.

“There are a couple of film and TV production facilities coming on line,” Dr. Garcia said, “so we are anticipating an uptick in demand in that area.

“Areas that are a bit flat have to do with industries like aviation. But there were no really big hits in any particular area.”

With the economy improving, giving adult students more options, he said, enrollment for the coming year will probably be flat, “but on the other hand, the number of students coming directly from high school has been growing.”

Barry University’s number, quoted online at 3,996, has seen a small decline since 2012, said Sarah Riley, director of undergraduate admissions.

“In the geographic areas we serve,” she said, “the size of high-school graduating classes has been decreasing, so there’s a smaller pool of eligible students. Most are of the middle class, whose income has remained stationary while the cost of everything continues to rise, so there’s often a delay in going to college.

“We have an early admission policy, and we’ve done a good job of looking at our historical data. We think we’re going to come pretty close to our projections this year, which is a slight decline in enrollment, but less than in recent years.”

The most popular degree programs are in the school of business and the college of nursing and health sciences, Ms. Riley said, and STEM concentrations remain strong.

“St. Thomas University, like many small, traditional universities, has been experiencing a decline in enrollment in the last five years,” said Dr. Irma Becerra, provost and chief academic officer. Undergraduate enrollment gradually dropped from 1,145 in 2010 to 931 last year. “We are expecting our enrollment at the undergraduate level this year,” she said, “to be flat.”

Majors such as business and political science remain popular. “Our School of Science has experienced significant growth in the last couple of years,” Dr. Becerra said, adding that St. Thomas’ School of Science is unusual in that it gives undergraduate students the opportunity to conduct research.

Due in large part to the launch of 27 new degree programs, mainly at the graduate level, in the past year, Dr. Becerra said, graduate enrollments are climbing, and are expected to increase by 15% this fall.

Two local universities report results bucking the national trend. Statistics on the University of Miami’s website show steady growth from 2010 through 2014. Areas of highest enrollment have remained constant, with arts & sciences taking a strong lead, followed by business, communications and rising interest in engineering.

“Enrollment at UM is solid and stable,” said John Haller, vice president of enrollment management, in an email. “We will enroll our new class on target with a similar academic profile to prior years.”

Florida International University’s vice president for academic affairs, Elizabeth M. Bejar, stated in an email that enrollment has risen steadily from 44,010 in 2010 to 54,009 last year. She reports the top five majors for the past five fall semesters were psychology, biology, hospitality administration and management, criminal justice and business administration and management.

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Tri-Rail downtown link picks up steam http://www.miamitodaynews.com/2015/07/28/tri-rail-downtown-link-picks-up-steam/ http://www.miamitodaynews.com/2015/07/28/tri-rail-downtown-link-picks-up-steam/#comments Wed, 29 Jul 2015 03:10:50 +0000 http://www.miamitodaynews.com/?p=28692 Putting one of the final pieces of a complicated puzzle into place, directors of the Southeast Overtown/Park West Community Redevelopment Agency voted unanimously Monday to contribute $17.5 million for the extension of Tri-Rail into downtown Miami. “This will be paid by bond proceeds, and we will make sure no bond is issued until the property […]

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Putting one of the final pieces of a complicated puzzle into place, directors of the Southeast Overtown/Park West Community Redevelopment Agency voted unanimously Monday to contribute $17.5 million for the extension of Tri-Rail into downtown Miami.

“This will be paid by bond proceeds, and we will make sure no bond is issued until the property comes onto the tax rolls,” said Clarence E. Woods III, agency executive director.

MiamiCentral, which will house Tri-Rail and All Aboard Florida terminals, is slated for completion next year, he said.

With a negotiating team led by Keon Hardemon, redevelopment agency chair and Miami commissioner, the agency won many of the perks during negotiations with the South Florida Regional Transportation Authority, which manages Tri-Rail, and All Aboard Florida, Mr. Woods said.

They include minority hiring with a preference to residents of five low-income ZIP codes surrounding the station during construction and when it is open for business. The redevelopment agency will receive discounted advertising on the platforms, and the train operators have promised paid internships and the creation of an entrepreneurial training program for area residents.

“They’re committed to making sure there are jobs for residents, and these are enhanced living wages,” Mr. Woods said.

As part of the development of MiamiCentral – a privately funded multi-modal transportation hub under construction by All Aboard Florida – the addition of two train platforms would allow for connection of the current Tri-Rail passenger service (west of I-95 ending at the airport) to Downtown Miami, as well as provide the facilities needed to support the planned coastal link that will ultimately take Tri-Rail service north along the Florida East Coast Railway corridor to Jupiter.

The total cost to bring Tri-Rail into MiamiCentral station is estimated at nearly $70 million, which is to be borne by the Florida Department of Transportation, City of Miami, both the Southeast Overtown/Park West and Omni redevelopment agencies, Miami-Dade County, metropolitan planning organizations in South Florida, Miami’s Downtown Development Authority, All Aboard Florida, the regional transportation authority and the state.

In May, the city’s Downtown Development Authority agreed to spend $1.3 million over the next three years to support the Tri-Rail extension.

Last month the Miami-Dade County Commission’s Transit and Mobility Services Committee approved $13.9 million in funding to the Tri-Rail plan.

On June 25, Miami city commissioners met as the board of the Omni Redevelopment District Community Redevelopment Agency and authorized a two-year reimbursement grant in            an amount not to exceed $1,875,000 annually ($3.75 million total), to assist with the extension of direct Tri-Rail service into Downtown Miami.

At their meeting July 23, Miami commissioners approved a resolution authorizing City Manager Daniel Alfonso to execute an agreement with the South Florida Regional Transportation Authority and a contribution of $8.347 million to design, construct and finance the Tri-Rail downtown connection.

Tri-Rail Executive Director Jack Stephens told city commissioners that the rail link into the heart of Miami will change the face of transportation for the city and the county.

The commission’s resolution stated, “… the City has determined that it would be in its best interest to facilitate travel between the City and other urban centers across South Florida for the benefit of its City residents and visitors by supporting SFRTA’s extension of its commuter rail service to Downtown Miami.”

All Aboard Florida, the private rail line planned to operate between Miami and Orlando owned by Florida East Coast Railway, offered the regional transportation authority the opportunity to run tracks and Tri-Rail trains into the vast station it is building downtown.

Tri-Rail runs on CSX tracks now, while the planned All Aboard Florida trains are to run on FEC tracks.

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UM bonds to expand health services http://www.miamitodaynews.com/2015/07/28/um-bonds-to-expand-health-services/ http://www.miamitodaynews.com/2015/07/28/um-bonds-to-expand-health-services/#comments Wed, 29 Jul 2015 03:05:34 +0000 http://www.miamitodaynews.com/?p=28700 The University of Miami is on its way to expanding its health service centers. The university has applied for the issuance of up to $764 million in revenue bonds by the county’s Education Facilities Authority to finance new university projects as well as refinance a portion of its existing bonds. The refinancing component is up […]

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The University of Miami is on its way to expanding its health service centers.

The university has applied for the issuance of up to $764 million in revenue bonds by the county’s Education Facilities Authority to finance new university projects as well as refinance a portion of its existing bonds.

The refinancing component is up to about $475 million, while the rest will help fund three specific projects: the Lennar Foundation Medical Center, a 200,000-square-foot ambulatory center on the university’s Coral Gables campus; Workday HR, software to replace financial systems; and a simulation hospital at the School of Nursing and Health Studies.

“It is an exciting time for the University of Miami,” said Joe Natoli, university CFO and senior VP for business and finance, at a July 21 meeting between the university and the Education Facilities Authority.

The institution is in the midst of a presidential change, with incoming president Dr. Julio Frenk, who was dean of faculty at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and will be joining UM on Aug. 16. Mr. Natoli said the school’s medical operations are profitable, and its relationship with Jackson Memorial Hospital is “stronger than ever.” He also said that students are coming to UM in greater numbers with higher SAT scores.

Of the new funds requested, about $150 million will go toward the ambulatory center, about $30 million will fund the Workday software and about $20 million will be set aside for the nursing school hospital, according to discussions at the meeting.

The nursing simulation hospital is to be a five-story facility, and the “only one of its kind” in the US, according to its website. The Lennar Foundation Medical Center will deliver services of the Miller School of Medicine, including specialty care by the Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center and Bascom Palmer Eye Institute. The facility will also include urgent care, outpatient surgery, men’s and women’s health, physical therapy, diagnostic imaging and radiation oncology. The Lennar Foundation has given the university $50 million to name the Coral Gables ambulatory center.

The IT software being adopted represents the last step in the replacement of legacy systems for students and human resources that have been used more than 30 years, Mr. Natoli said.

UM has an extensive history with the education authority, whose tax-exempt bonds, or municipal bonds exempt from federal income taxes, have funded major capital projects, including construction of the clinical research building, the biomedical research building, a new parking garage and an energy plant, among others.

“We anticipate issuing tax exempt debt through the authority, but also retain the flexibility to issue taxable debt through them,” Mr. Natoli told Miami Today, meaning UM could go directly to market to issue taxable debt.

The bond application is a four-step process. The authority agreed to accept the application on July 21. In August, the authority will meet again, where there will be a public hearing and the authority will consider a resolution approving issuance of the bonds. It will then go to the county commission for approval, and finally, if approved, there will be a closing of the bonds post-solicitation of potential buyers.

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Historic site repeal may raise cost of bridge http://www.miamitodaynews.com/2015/07/28/historic-site-repeal-may-raise-cost-of-bridge/ http://www.miamitodaynews.com/2015/07/28/historic-site-repeal-may-raise-cost-of-bridge/#comments Wed, 29 Jul 2015 03:01:37 +0000 http://www.miamitodaynews.com/?p=28702 A decision by city commissioners regarding land on the Miami River might ultimately impact the design and cost to replace the Southwest First Street Bridge. It might also affect how much access to the river is available for upland properties that have a long history of connections with the river, namely the Miami River Inn […]

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A decision by city commissioners regarding land on the Miami River might ultimately impact the design and cost to replace the Southwest First Street Bridge.

It might also affect how much access to the river is available for upland properties that have a long history of connections with the river, namely the Miami River Inn and associated buildings.

Those structures are included in a historic district, which limits what can be constructed or altered on those properties.

The new owner of the inn, area developer Avra Jain, was fighting a recent decision by the city’s Historic and Environmental Preservation Board to remove a property at 109 SW S River Drive from the South River Drive Historic District.

At a meeting May 5 the board voted 4 to 2 in favor of removing the site from historic designation, at the request of property owner Manny’s Seafood Corp.

Attorney Paul C. Savage appealed the board’s decision on behalf of River Inn SRD LLC, alleging the application “runs afoul of governing ordinances, covenants and procedures,” and asked the city commission to reverse the May 5 decision.

But after a long hearing, commissioners voted to back the preservation board, denying the appeal.

In a letter to the city requesting the land at 109 SW S River Drive be removed from the historic district, Manuel Prieguez, vice president of Manny’s Seafood Corp., detailed the history of the property.

Mr. Prieguez said his family purchased the property in 2011 from the previous owner of the Miami River Inn.

The land is across the street from a number of parcels that in 1986 were made into the South River Drive Historic District.

“The purpose for the district was to preserve the unique buildings that occupy those lots. The 109 parcel was and is the only parcel not adjacent to any of the other parcels; it is across the street. Nonetheless, this parcel used to have an historic structure,” he wrote.

Mr. Prieguez said there came a time when the building came into such disrepair that the city issued a notice of violation to the owner and demanded the structure either be repaired or demolished.

In late 2003 the structure was demolished.

“As the current owner of this parcel, I cannot think of a good and logical reason why this vacant piece of land (disconnected from the rest of the parcels) should continue being a part of this historic district,” wrote Mr. Prieguez.

Currently the parcel is used as part of his family’s lobster and stone crab fishing business. The parcel allows for the storage of lobster and stone crab traps and dockage for the fishermen.

After decades of hard work on the river and his family purchasing riverfront parcels over the years, the time is approaching where the family may sell the land, Mr. Prieguez indicated.

“Forgive us for trying to maximize our hard work,” he told commissioners.

During the commission’s hearing on the appeal, several people spoke in favor of maintaining the historic designation, particularly to keep in place rigid building requirements that would discourage large developments like condo towers.

Worries of the impact of development of the riverfront parcel are addressed in the appeal, as Mr. Savage wrote, in part: “… a large structure such as a parking garage or parking pedestal between the nationally-designated River Inn and the bank of the Miami River on the 109 Parcel will destroy the visual connectivity of the River Inn and the Miami River.”

Ms. Jain spoke to commissioners and said while she is “pro-development,” she favors “thoughtful development.” She said she invested in the neighborhood by making the $8.6 million purchase of the inn and adjacent parcels in April.

Removing the historic designation from 109 SW S River Drive “impacts my rights,” Ms. Jain said, and asked that the historic designation be maintained.

The property at 109 SW S River Drive abuts the Southwest First Street Bridge, which brings one-way traffic eastbound into the heart of the city.

The Florida Department of Transportation has been meeting with city officials and river commission members on a nearly $87 million plan to replace the 86-year-old bridge, which is deemed structurally deficient. The overall project is expected to include acquisition of additional right-of-way, and the final design of the span has not been drafted.

Work to replace the bridge is set to begin in 2018 and be completed in 2021.

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FYI Miami: July 30, 2015 http://www.miamitodaynews.com/2015/07/28/fyi-miami-july-30-2015/ http://www.miamitodaynews.com/2015/07/28/fyi-miami-july-30-2015/#comments Wed, 29 Jul 2015 03:00:58 +0000 http://www.miamitodaynews.com/?p=28680 BIG NEW PLAT: Just weeks from breaking ground to start building long-awaited mega-development Miami Worldcenter, city commissioners approved a new plat for much of the assembled Park West land. On July 23, they accepted the final plat of Miami Worldcenter Plat 1 between Northeast First and Second avenues and between Northeast 10th Street and the […]

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BIG NEW PLAT: Just weeks from breaking ground to start building long-awaited mega-development Miami Worldcenter, city commissioners approved a new plat for much of the assembled Park West land. On July 23, they accepted the final plat of Miami Worldcenter Plat 1 between Northeast First and Second avenues and between Northeast 10th Street and the Florida East Coast Railway right of way. The plat was submitted by developers Miami First LLC, Miami Second LLC, Miami Fourth LLC, Miami All LLC and Forbes Miami NE 1st Avenue LLC. The city’s Plat and Street Committee determined that the plat conforms to zoning code subdivision regulations. The intent is to close the right of way of Northeast Seventh, Eighth and Ninth streets within the plat and create one contiguous tract for development. The platted area consists of about 515,286 square feet, or 11.829 acres. The overall project is to offer residential, retail, office, hotel, retail, restaurant and entertainment uses.

WORLDCENTER BREAKING GROUND: Miami Worldcenter announced Monday it would be breaking ground within the next nine days or so. The announcement came during a bus tour for members of The International Council of Shopping Centers Next Generation National Conference. The three-day ICSC Conference was held in Miami July 26 to 28, bringing those within the retail industry together at the JW Marriott Marquis.

HANDING OFF TAXING ROLE: Voters may be asked on the Nov. 8, 2016, general election ballot to approve of a change to the Miami-Dade County code to allow cities and villages to become the governing boards of special taxing districts, a role now filled solely by the county commission. The proposal by Commissioner Esteban Bovo Jr., which is to be heard next by the commission’s Metropolitan Services Committee on Aug. 26, was passed unanimously by commissioners on a first reading July 14 without discussion. Another full commission vote would be required to put the measure on the ballot. The measure would apply to both existing special taxing districts and new ones.

GAS MUZZLER: As the price of crude oil dropped nearly $10 a barrel in July to flirt with the $50 level, gasoline prices have be sliding, down to an average of $2.68 per gallon in Miami as of Sunday according to the GasBuddy price survey. That price is 83.9 cents a gallon less in Miami than a year ago and 9.4 cents a gallon less than a month ago. AAA is forecasting prices that may near $2 per gallon by fall.

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Marlins contract makes soccer next door a tougher game http://www.miamitodaynews.com/2015/07/28/marlins-contract-makes-soccer-next-door-a-tougher-game/ http://www.miamitodaynews.com/2015/07/28/marlins-contract-makes-soccer-next-door-a-tougher-game/#comments Wed, 29 Jul 2015 03:00:49 +0000 http://www.miamitodaynews.com/?p=28670 Much as we might want a Major League Soccer stadium near Marlins Park, the clock is running out and obstacles loom, an unreported barrier being the Miami Marlins. The group David Beckham fronts has yet to secure a franchise from the league, which has made a soccer-specific stadium a condition to get in at a […]

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Much as we might want a Major League Soccer stadium near Marlins Park, the clock is running out and obstacles loom, an unreported barrier being the Miami Marlins.

The group David Beckham fronts has yet to secure a franchise from the league, which has made a soccer-specific stadium a condition to get in at a bargain-basement price. The deadline is just three months off.

So the Beckham group, which began by seeking public bayfront land free, has more than a year later settled on the inland spot that then city Mayor Manny Diaz was pushing for both baseball and soccer structures seven years ago.

Last week city commissioners agreed to open talks for a soccer stadium beside the ballpark to deal with what the city would get for its land, including cash or stadium revenue streams, and what else the team seeks from the city. If those talks succeed, Miami-Dade County negotiations would follow. The University of Miami might seek a stadium-sharing deal. Then would come league approval.

With all those moving parts – not to mention finances of the franchise, which must pay the league, build a stadium, hire players and run a team until it turns a profit – the chosen site has pluses but also vital limitations.

One plus is that the city owns much of the land, though the soccer team or the city would have to move and pay off commercial and residential occupants in its mid-section, and the city might need to reposition surface baseball parking lots now on its land.

The other plus is that four city-owned garages built for baseball provide more than 5,000 spaces for soccer fans and stadium users for all other events.

Those two key assets should enhance the site for soccer as Mayor Diaz intended.

Unfortunately for Mr. Beckham, the other half of the old soccer-baseball plan led to a sweetheart deal for baseball that hobbles soccer.

The city-county contract that led to a baseball stadium and cost taxpayers almost $3 billion handed the baseball team primacy over soccer and requires the city to compel a soccer team next door to comply with its strictures.

One restriction is that soccer can’t sell stadium naming rights until baseball sells its own. But the baseball stadium is in its fourth season and the team still can’t sell those rights because the stadium giveaway deal became a toxic issue.

Further, even if the Marlins someday sell stadium naming rights, soccer can’t sell rights that conflict with the Marlins’ stadium sponsor.

Naming rights could play into the Beckham team’s plans. Major League Soccer’s Chicago Fire sold the Toyota Park name for $7.5 million for 10 years. Toyota also is the name on a league stadium in Texas, while another Texas stadium is named for BBVA Compass bank. The league’s all-star game this week is being played in Dick’s Sporting Goods Park in Colorado. There’s Gillette Stadium in Massachusetts, Red Bull Arena in New Jersey and so on.

More on sponsors: no soccer exterior ads may conflict with a major Marlins sponsor. But if soccer sells an exterior ad that doesn’t conflict, the Marlins can then sign a conflicting sponsor and the soccer sponsor can’t renew.

Every line of the contract, in fact, tilts baseball’s way.

Soccer stadium architecture must mesh with baseball’s and not reflect light toward it. The Marlins get to review all soccer stadium plans, specifications and leases before construction or lease execution.

Soccer stadium construction may not interfere with baseball from two hours before to one hour after a ballpark game or an event – events Marlins owners book and profit from.

No soccer could be played until four hours after baseball. The Marlins get first choice of dates and times.

The soccer team can’t schedule any games at home from March 15 to Nov. 15 until the Marlins choose their own dates. The soccer team gets the leftovers, though a soccer team would get 13 Saturday nights yearly that the Marlins leave clear.

All that’s well and good, but if the Marlins change their schedule, guess what? The soccer team automatically loses its reserved dates. It’s all up to the Marlins.

Then there are those garages the city built and owns. By contract, the Marlins buy spaces for $10.03 and then resell them for whatever – they’re selling parking July 30 at $15 to $20 a space, but the Aug. 11 game against Boston is $20 to $50 for city-owned spaces the team gets for $10.03.

The baseball contract requires that soccer not pay less than the Marlins do: $10.10 a space by the time a soccer stadium opens. Again, baseball gets first dibs: the Marlins get first choice for games or events from March 15-Nov. 15.

Other baseball contract restrictions: a soccer stadium can’t have a ticket brokerage, can’t have retail that competes with naming rights of baseball stadium sponsors, can’t open quick-service restaurants when the stadium isn’t in use, can’t have portable food stands or giveaways from three hours before a game or event at the baseball park to one hour after.

And more: soccer can’t sell baseball memorabilia or merchandise unless a Marlins-owned company does it. Nor can any outside company sell soccer merchandise. And no soccer stadium use ever may interfere with the baseball stadium or parking for events there, even non-sports events.

The city and county are both required to record all these restrictions in public records, just to be sure.

Other than those impediments, it’s a perfectly level playing field for soccer.

None of those barriers will come into play, of course, if the city and soccer don’t cut a deal. In talks, the city will need to protect the public interest far better than was done in the Marlins giveaway.

Since the city is dealing with a team that doesn’t even exist, an ownership whose participants are murky, a franchise that has yet to be formally granted, finances that are now secret and a sport that has already failed once in Miami, protection of the public’s assets is a must in negotiations.

It is not government’s responsibility that the team succeed. It is, however, government’s responsibility to protect the public interest and assets.

Meanwhile, the would-be franchise operators must factor in how large a barrier the baseball stadium contract poses to the success of professional soccer beside Marlins Park.

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Miami Dade College in building mode http://www.miamitodaynews.com/2015/07/28/miami-dade-college-in-building-mode/ http://www.miamitodaynews.com/2015/07/28/miami-dade-college-in-building-mode/#comments Wed, 29 Jul 2015 03:00:46 +0000 http://www.miamitodaynews.com/?p=28698 To expand the breadth and depth of its course offerings and create space for greater enrollment, Miami Dade College is building new academic facilities and parking garages on some of its campuses. In spring, construction wrapped up on major renovations to the Hialeah campus. Students and faculty have now moved into a new four-story multi-use […]

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To expand the breadth and depth of its course offerings and create space for greater enrollment, Miami Dade College is building new academic facilities and parking garages on some of its campuses.

In spring, construction wrapped up on major renovations to the Hialeah campus. Students and faculty have now moved into a new four-story multi-use academic building that houses classrooms, faculty offices, meeting spaces, a library, an art gallery, a student service hub and the campus’s first chemistry and biology laboratories.

“The new building expands our offerings on the Hialeah campus from A to Z,” said Rolando Montoya, the college’s provost for operations. “Now we will be able to offer a more comprehensive menu of programs.”

Before the renovations, Mr. Montoya said, the classes students could take in Hialeah were limited to English as a second language and some of the more basic courses. Now, he said, students will be able to complete certain degrees entirely on the Hialeah campus.

To accompany the new building, the college also put up a new 1,000-space garage.

“You can’t add a building that increases capacity and enrollment without adding parking,” Mr. Montoya said. “Students will look for a campus where they can park.”

He said enrollment has already risen, with students attracted by state-of-the-art facilities, expanded course offerings and aesthetically pleasing green spaces.

Meanwhile, enrollment has been stagnating at Miami Dade’s West campus in Doral because of insufficient parking, Mr. Montoya said. In October 2012, a five-story garage the school was building to accommodate growing enrollment collapsed, killing four workers. Construction stalled for almost three years while the college sought legal damages from insurance companies, contractors and subcontractors. In April, the college received $33.5 million in a settlement.

That money has already been used to demolish the ruins of the old structure, and work has begun on a new 2,000-space garage. Mr. Montoya said it will be finished in October 2016.

Meanwhile, Miami Dade is spending $156,000 a year to lease 450 spaces at a nearby Ikea garage for its students and faculty to use instead. Every 15 minutes, a shuttle transports commuters between the garage and campus.

Mr. Montoya said the inconvenience has stunted growth at a campus that should be flourishing. Recent data from the US Census Bureau rank Doral as the third-fastest-growing city in America. Mr. Montoya said that a rapidly expanding population and an influx of new businesses create tremendous potential for growth at West Campus.

“When the garage is ready in 2016, everybody will be able to park on campus,” Mr. Montoya said.

Also scheduled to open in 2016 is a remodeled 13-story office-building-turned-educational-facility at Miami Dade’s InterAmerican Campus. The school bought the InterAmerican Plaza adjacent to its campus in Little Havana for $25 million in June 2012. Now it is spending $47 million to convert an existing office building into a comprehensive academic facility by November of next year.

Like the new building on the Hialeah Campus, the new InterAmerican building will house classrooms, faculty offices, labs and student services. Mr. Montoya said the public spaces included in both buildings’ designs add another layer of depth to students’ learning and experience.

“Among the spaces that we have at academic facilities you will find auditoriums, meeting rooms, plazas, atriums and spaces for exhibits,” Mr. Montoya said. “These spaces complement what you do in labs and in the classroom.”

He said one of the college’s strengths is its co-curricular programming, because hosting exhibits, guest speakers and community events allows students and faculty to engage with their community.

“Without the appropriate physical space, it’s very hard to promote those events,” Mr. Montoya said. “You don’t want students to park, go to class and leave. You want them to have a space to meet, hang out and work collaboratively.”

The college also plans to add a four-story building and accompanying garage to its Medical Campus in the Health District. The Center for Learning, Innovation and Simulation is to be an academic building with space to simulate a real-world hospital enviroment. Mr. Montoya said it will mainly be used for the medical school’s nursing and physician assistant programs.

The deadline for architects and construction managers to submit project proposals was July 21. As of this writing, a college selection committee is still reviewing the bids.

The college is also building a 600-space garage for its Wolfson Campus on a vacant lot donated by the US Department of Justice. The $18 million project is set to be completed in August 2016.

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PortMiami cargo nears record http://www.miamitodaynews.com/2015/07/28/portmiami-cargo-nears-record/ http://www.miamitodaynews.com/2015/07/28/portmiami-cargo-nears-record/#comments Wed, 29 Jul 2015 03:00:18 +0000 http://www.miamitodaynews.com/?p=28690 Cargo containers entering PortMiami are nearing a record, approaching highs last seen a decade ago. Cranes have unloaded about 740,000 containers from ships this fiscal year, which ends Sept. 30, up 12.6% from the same period last year. In fiscal 2014, 876,000 containers flowed into the port. Director Juan Kuryla said the port projects 980,000 […]

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Cargo containers entering PortMiami are nearing a record, approaching highs last seen a decade ago.

Cranes have unloaded about 740,000 containers from ships this fiscal year, which ends Sept. 30, up 12.6% from the same period last year. In fiscal 2014, 876,000 containers flowed into the port.

Director Juan Kuryla said the port projects 980,000 containers for 2015, just 70,000 shy of the 2004 record of 1.05 million before numbers dipped. Starting in 2005, the port lost about 250,000 containers over two years to below 800,000, Mr. Kuryla said, for various reasons.

“Ships can pick up and go, and we’ve seen that,” he said.

But now, it’s a one-way route. Ships are coming.

“What is happening now is we have been succeeding in keeping existing business and attracting new services,” Mr. Kuryla said. “We’re hoping that we continue this trend, particularly now that our dredging project will be completed this August.”

He attributes the growth to a series of projects the port initiated to prepare for the Panama Canal’s expansion, to be completed in April. They include the tunnel, purchase of giant cranes, return of on-dock rail service and the latest – dredging.

Once the port finishes deepening its main harbor channel from 42 feet to 50-52 feet, it will be capable of welcoming 14,000-container vessels. The maximum now is 5,700.

Mr. Kuryla said that by adding the right terminal infrastructure, the port will have the capacity to double its cargo over the next seven to eight years. Conservative estimates, he said, show a 3% to 4% annual cargo increase once the Panama Canal is in full use.

“Realistically,” he said, “we could probably add a couple of hundred thousand [containers] over the next four to five years.”

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Jim Murley: Leads regional planning council to meet area’s needs http://www.miamitodaynews.com/2015/07/28/jim-murley-leads-regional-planning-council-to-meet-areas-needs/ http://www.miamitodaynews.com/2015/07/28/jim-murley-leads-regional-planning-council-to-meet-areas-needs/#comments Wed, 29 Jul 2015 03:00:16 +0000 http://www.miamitodaynews.com/?p=28676 Jim Murley likes to say this state is a dress rehearsal for the rest of the country and South Florida, in particular, is great place to identify issues the entire US is going to be looking at.  We have the largest proportion of people over 65, along with a young and diversified population; an income […]

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Jim Murley likes to say this state is a dress rehearsal for the rest of the country and South Florida, in particular, is great place to identify issues the entire US is going to be looking at. 

We have the largest proportion of people over 65, along with a young and diversified population; an income gap in our regional community that must be narrowed or – better yet – closed; and a need to better prepare for what are forecasted changes in sea level rise. Other states might not be facing these issues right now but many will have to, so that’s the dress rehearsal, Mr. Murley said.

As executive director of the South Florida Regional Planning Council, he pays close attention to long-term challenges and opportunities facing this part of the state, overseeing the council’s assistance to the region’s leaders in developing and implementing creative strategies for more prosperous and equitable communities, a healthier and cleaner environment and a more vibrant economy.

That’s a tall order. It means keeping an eye on employment opportunities, transportation initiatives and improvements, water supply planning, and the creation of sustainable, livable communities, among other endeavors. 

A small regional agency can’t solve address all these issues alone, Mr. Murley said, so it partners with counties and cities, the private and nonprofit sectors as well as regional, state and federal agencies.

Mr. Murley said the important thing for the regional council, especially urban South Florida where we have large county governments and millions of people who live here, is to work across layers of government and look for ways they can work together and be more effective.

Miami Today reporter Susan Danseyar interviewed Mr. Murley in Coconut Grove.

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Classified Ads http://www.miamitodaynews.com/2015/07/28/classified-ads-171/ http://www.miamitodaynews.com/2015/07/28/classified-ads-171/#comments Wed, 29 Jul 2015 03:00:16 +0000 http://www.miamitodaynews.com/?p=28668 GREAT CAFETERIA !!! In the Heart of Brickell – Excellent opportunity to lease. Fully equipped and operating with wine, beer and tobacco license. Asking price $4,500 per month. All utilities included. Call 786-597-9672 Comptroller wanted in Miami, to direct co’s financial activities, such as planning, procurement & investments. Req: Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration or […]

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GREAT CAFETERIA !!! In the Heart of Brickell – Excellent opportunity to lease. Fully equipped and operating with wine, beer and tobacco license. Asking price $4,500 per month. All utilities included. Call 786-597-9672

Comptroller wanted in Miami, to direct co’s financial activities, such as planning, procurement & investments. Req: Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration or equiv. & 5 yrs. exp. in job offered. Kwldge. of acting. & SAP systems. Mail resumes to: Sadaco International, LLC. 7950 NW 53rd Street, Suite 244, Miami, FL 33166

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