By: Lauren Coffey - TBBJ & Inno Reporter, Tampa Bay Business Journal
An aerial view rendering of University of Tampa's Benson Alex Riseman Fitness and Recreation Center
The University of Tampa will rename and expand its fitness center after receiving a donation from one alumnus.
The Fitness and Recreation Center will be named the Benson Alex Riseman Fitness and Recreation Center, after Riseman gave a donation for an undisclosed amount to the school. Riseman is the CEO of BENSEA Enterprises, a consulting agency and think tank with a focus on business strategy, branding, marketing and revenue generation. He previously founded Green Dot Corp., a financial technology company that provides reloadable prepaid debit cards. It went public in 2020 (NYSE: GDOT).
Riseman is based in Las Vegas.
"While I have a passion for entrepreneurship, I like that the fitness and recreation center will be open for all students," Riseman said in a statement. "It doesn’t matter your major or interests — it’s all part of the university’s commitment to help students strengthen their mind, soul and bodies."
While the expansion was in the works, the "large" donation from Riseman boosted the project, which will break ground in spring 2021.
“We know that fitness helps students excel academically, and especially given the past six months, students need more than ever the kind of health and wellness that a facility like this will provide,” UT President Ron Vaughn said in a statement. “I am grateful to Benson for helping us get started on phase II of the project."
The expansion has been in a factor in UT's master plan for years, according to the university. Creating a world-class fitness and recreation center will help elevate the university, helping serve both current students and as a springboard for recruitment of future students and faculty.
The center will be for only UT students, staff and faculty. The first phase of the fitness center was opened in September 2016, spanning 40,000 square feet. Phase Two of the building will include:
Buildings that exist in the project's footprint are estimated to be roughly 100 years old and will be demolished. Kreher Architects Inc. is the architecture firm for the project, with an undecided general contractor.
The university is also working on the 4,000-square-foot Science Research Laboratories and the Ferman Center for the Arts.
The fitness center will be designed and constructed to qualify for the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certification by the U.S. Green Building Council. If it receives that designation, it will be the seventh LEED-certified building on campus.
Chris Coleman, VP of Development at Wingspan, periodically shares his thoughts and observations on property development news.