Delaware State University is in the final phase of conducting a feasibility study regarding a proposed convocation center that would serve both the university and the public.
The university received $250,000 in the state FY 13 bond bill to conduct the study, with the purpose of evaluating whether or not building the center is a viable option, according to Doug Moss, of Holzman Moss Bottino Architecture, the firm leading the study.
“The feasibility study is not about designing a building,” Moss said, “It’s about developing a business plan, understanding size, understanding cost and identifying potential locations.”
The proposed center would be a great asset to the Delaware State University campus, said Carlos Holmes, director of news services for the university.
“Certainly DSU would benefit from a convocation center with respect to athletic events and other types of events that are academic-related,” Holmes said. “DSU would be just one of a number of benefactors with respect to a convocation center. It’s something that would have great benefit to the city, to the county and to the state. There are many non-DSU events that could take place in such a facility.”
Bill Neaton, economic development director for the City of Dover and a member of the feasibility study committee, said the center could be used for events such as car and boat shows and conferences, in addition to DSU’s use of the facility.
“It’s a tremendously needed venue not only for DSU but for the area,” Neaton said. “As far as the impact to the community, I see it as having an economic development impact. The potential to grow in trade shows and conventions is huge. The result is overnight stays and people buying locally and using our restaurants.”
The feasibility study was completed in November and the advisory committee is now waiting for the final report from the study, Neaton said.
The company heading up the feasibility study, Holzman Moss and Bottino Architecture of New York, is the same firm that designed the Dover Public Library and the student center and wellness centers at Delaware State University.
Local companies have also had a hand in the study. EDiS provided cost estimation, while Becker Morgan Group provided input about site selection, traffic evaluation and cost estimation. Gregory Moore, vice president of Becker Morgan, said the project is warranted.
“DSU really needs a convocation center, given the huge advancement they’ve done to the university over the last few years,” Moore said. “They’re nationally known and they are the state university here in Delaware. Not to have a convocation center where students can meet and have a mass lecture is almost unheard of in higher education.”
Page 2 of 2 - If the results of the study suggest that the university should move forward with the facility, the next hurdle will be attaining funding for what Neaton called a multimillion-dollar project.
“There are a variety of options,” Neaton said. “It could be funded through a capital campaign by DSU, some of it could be funded with public funding through the state and some could be funded with naming rights from private companies. It’s yet to be determined.”
There are several location options being discussed, and location is one of the factors the committee has been working through.
“At this point we are getting close to finishing the study,” Moss said. “Both the steering committee and a number of folks are finalizing the report.”