Friday, February 17, 2006

News Story on AMU groundbreaking ceremony

Gov. Bush praises Ave Maria
By Joan D. Laguardia
Originally posted on February 17, 2006


About 400 people, including Gov. Jeb Bush, gathered near Immokalee today to officially kick off construction of Ave Maria University and its new town.

The charm of an old world village combined with the vitality of a college town is the theme of the new community.

Bush, whose visit today was his first time back in east Collier County since Hurricane Wilma, said he was pleased to see the area recovering from hurricane damage.

“I’m really proud of Southwest Florida and Collier County in how organized you are,” he said.

Bush welcomed the new Roman Catholic university for its goals of combining academic accomplishment with reinforcing “timeless values” like humility, compassion and respect for life. He also pointed out that the development is the first project under Collier County’s Rule Land Stewardship program.

The town preserved the natural and rural heritage of this part of the state, Bush said.

The university will be built on 1,000 acres about five miles south of Immokalee in east Collier County. The town will be set on 4,000 acres next to the university.

The feel of the town will be Mediterranean, with the center referred to as La Piazza. Its six buildings will include the first residences of Ave Maria and the only condominiums available. The 70 condos will encircle the church, which will anchor the town.

The wood, stone and steel structure will soar more than 100 feet high and will seat 1,100. Outside the church, there will be a 65-foot crucifix, a bell tower and a water feature.

The town will have residences ranging from rental apartments to estate homes. Pulte, a national homebuilders, will build three communities.

It's the dream of billionaire philanthropist Thomas Monaghan.

The founder of Domino’s Pizza and former owner of the Detroit Tigers, is chancellor of the Roman Catholic university. Through his Ave Maria Foundation, he has pledged to meet the $250 million in construction costs.

“This initial donation will provide a substantial start to Ave Maria University, but to achieve our vision for greatness, we will need continued financial support from others,” Monaghan said.

“Little did I know when I opened the first Domino’s store to pay my way through architectural school, it would eventually lead to the building of a Catholic university some 45 years later,” he said.

The university and Naples-based Barron Collier Companies have formed a partnership to develop the campus and its own town, also called Ave Maria.

Monaghan and Lamar Gable, Barron Collier chairman, are hosting the ceremony today.

Site work and construction of the main roads and water management system began in April of 2005.

Planned opening of the university is in fall of 2007. Homes may open as early as late spring and early summer of 2007.

The community will have as many as 11,000 houses and apartments at capacity.

Monaghan, whose wealth comes primarily from the $85 million sale of the Detroit Tigers in 1992 and the $1 billion sale of Domino's Pizza in 1998, announced plans for the lay person-run university in November 2002.

In the fall of 2003, the university opened an interim campus north of Naples in The Vineyards community. Its current enrollment is about 400.

The new campus will have a capacity of about 6,000 students.

Building began in December on about 330,000 square feet of commercial space, including 70 condos that will be above retail and office businesses.

A groundbreaking, set for Nov. 1, was canceled and $50,000 budgeted for the event was given to the Guadalupe Center in Immokalee for Hurricane Wilma relief. The hurricane hit the area of the new campus on Oct. 24.

The first phase of the campus development will include:

* A student activity center with 400-seat dining hall, game room and 24-hour study lounge.

* Residential student housing which will be organized into neighborhoods of seven buildings. Each building will house 85-100 students.

* Library with special and rare book collections, and a Frank Lloyd Wright collections room.

* Science, mathematics and technology building. It will include a 200-seat lecture hall.


At 6:34 PM, Blogger Boko Fittleworth said...

"I opened the first Domino’s store to pay my way through architectural school."

Is this true? Is it in Pizza Tiger? Where did Mr. Monaghan go to architecture school?

At 10:37 AM, Blogger mrbooks said...

Yes, it is in Pizza Tiger. Third chapter, I think

TM returned to A2 from military service in '59 and enrolled at UM. He founded Dominoes (DomiNicks then)in Dec. 1960 and left UM for the 4th time shortly after his brother, Jim, left the business 8 months later. He never went back to school.


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