Rollins Delays Workforce Housing Hearing, Moves Forward with New Art Museum

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The approval process for the Rollins College faculty and staff housing project has been delayed another month with the tabling of its July 2nd Planning & Zoning Board hearing. An email from Planning Director Emeritus Jeff Briggs states the college will not have its full team available to present on the required date.

Hearings began in December with Rollins presenting plans for a 48-unit, three-story apartment building measuring 80,981 square feet. Resident and City Commission pushback over architecture and requested height and parking code variances led to four design changes over six months, resulting in a 30-unit, 45,842-square-foot design that was presented to P&Z board members at their June 11 meeting.

The new design is more compatible with the Hannibal Square neighborhood and includes a stormwater retention system. Image courtesy of: Rollins College/City of Winter Park

The new building also reduces massing with varying two- and three-story heights and includes a stormwater retention system beneath the property; however, the June 11 discussion was tabled over the lack of a previously agreed-upon guarantee that Rollins would not change the building use for a 30-year period. P&Z Board member Bill Segal also proposed a condition that Rollins pay a portion of the taxes for police and fire service in the event the property is granted ad valorem tax exemption by the state. The tabling of the July hearing means the next chance for P&Z Board approval is August 6th. The plan would then move to City Commission for two more hearings.

In January, City Commission approved a campus-based 300-bed student residence to replace Holt Hall. Public comments during the workforce housing hearings have included the suggestion that Rollins use a portion of the campus project for staff, but representatives have told the32789 that the option is not under consideration.

Meanwhile, Rollins is proceeding with its original plan for a new 31,791-square-foot art museum at the Samuel B. Lawrence Center property at 200 E. New England Ave. A new proposal that placed the museum in Winter Park’s former library building was voted down by City Commission in favor of a library reuse plan by Blue Bamboo Center for the Arts.

The new art museum will also connect to new Crummer Graduate School of Business building. Image courtesy of: Rollins College/City of Winter Park

When the second museum plan was presented to the city on May 23, Rollins President Grant Cornwell told commissioners that approximately $18 million of the estimated $30 million cost of the first plan had been raised. According to Rollins College Vice President of Communications and External Relations Sam Stark, focus never shifted from fundraising while the second plan was in development.

“We hope it goes well for all parties,” he said of the Blue Bamboo project. “We are laser-focused on raising the funds to proceed with our approved project on the Lawrence Center property.” No construction timeline is available at this time.

The August 6 Planning & Zoning meeting agenda, along with virtual access registration, will be available at

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