Construction Signals Growth for Computer Science Program

Jan 8, 2020

by Southern News

Florida Southern marked a major expansion of its computer science program with construction work underway for the Carole and Marcus Weinstein Computer Sciences Center, which will provide a state-of-the-art computing environment for the growing department; indeed, the fastest growing major on campus.

In addition to high-tech classrooms and collaborative learning spaces, the new structure will house a cybersecurity and informatics learning lab in a flagship computer cluster that also includes a virtual cyber range for customized training environments, a logistics center, a workshop for autonomous-vehicle research, an artificial intelligence (AI) and robotics lab, a makerspace workshop, and an esports competition arena.

“This is a grand occasion,” FSC President Dr. Anne Kerr said, welcoming guests to the official groundbreaking in November 2018. She expressed great pride in the College’s determination to expand the computer science program, saying “it is incumbent upon Florida Southern College to be as technologically advanced as possible for our students.”

the weinsteins
Carole and Marcus Weinstein

Florida Southern’s provost, Dr. Brad E. Hollingshead, said the College “has been steadily expanding its computer science program over the past few years, with concentrations in web and cloud computing, artificial intelligence and machine learning, and cybersecurity. The generous gift from Carole and Marcus Weinstein will allow us to grow the program further and prepare students for high-demand areas that require the expertise that they develop through our programs.” Dr. Hollingshead also stressed the importance of creating a “new home” for students in the Department of Computer Science, to “inspire, stimulate, and bring out the best in our students,” he said. “It is being designed, in the end, to empower them.”

The dramatically distinctive structure, designed by architect and Frank Lloyd Wright scholar Jeffrey Baker of the firm Mesick Cohen Wilson Baker Architects of New York, will overlook Lake Hollingsworth. Mr. Baker serves as the lead architect for restorations of the College’s historic Frank Lloyd Wright structures. Named for FSC Trustee Carole Weinstein and her husband, Dr. Marcus Weinstein, of Richmond, Va., the Center will provide approximately 18,000 square feet of academic space, with a 3,000-square-foot auditorium and food venue featuring international items.

“In the past five years, we have more than doubled the number of majors,” said Dr. Christian Roberson, chair of the Department of Computer Science. Talented new faculty have been recruited to lead the continuing trajectory of this exciting academic enterprise.

The Carole and Marcus Weinstein Computer Sciences Center has an estimated completion date of 2021.