Posted: 11:55 am Monday, February 11th, 2013
By Kim Miller
Florida State University officials say they accept Friday’s committee decision to relocate their digtial arts program from West Palm Beach to their main campus and don’t plan to present their case again at a final vote later this month.
The recommendation will face the Board of Governors at its Feb. 21 meeting, held via conference call.
“Florida State University accepts the recommendation of the Florida Board of Governors Select Committee on FSU Academic Film Program Offerings in West Palm Beach and thanks the committee members for their time and effort in considering this matter,” a statement says.
The school, along with West Palm Beach city officials, lobbied hard to keep the digital and media arts program in downtown after the demise of former partner Digital Domain, but the committee was not convinced.
Board members questioned the commitment of the companies pitched as replacements for Digital Domain.
“I got some phone calls yesterday from the businesses referred to here. I tried to pin them down with specifics and the responses I got back is that they are interested and would like to pursue the feasibility and want to understand better,” said committee member Edward Morton, a Naples businessman. “They were not as dramatic as I thought they might be about FSU staying. They were more interested in what we could do for them.”
West Palm Beach Mayor Jeri Muoio, who attended Friday’s meeting at the University of Central Florida in Orlando, presented a letter supporting the program from Palm Beach billionaire Jeff Greene. Greene, who has been on a West Palm Beach buying spree recently, said he would look forward to exploring whether a project on the “tent site” _ where Digital Domain had pitched building a facility _ would be a good next step in his “ongoing strategy.”
Muoio also carried with her a letter from Stargate Studios, which has seven offices worldwide, saying it wanted to explore the possibilities of establishing a location in West Palm Beach.
“The Digital Domain deal was fast and furious and didn’t end up going well,” said Frank Brogan, state university system chancellor, who is concerned about rushing into another partnership. “But the time and the vetting that goes into the creation of great economic development deals, while always long and tedious and prescriptive, pays dividends downstream.”
According to school officials, the program will be scaled back if it returns to Tallahassee, shrinking from a proposed 285 students to 85.