Hundreds gathered beneath a tent in rural Collier County today for the official groundbreaking of Ave Maria University and town. It’s the first new Catholic University in the U-S in 4 decades – and the first time a town and university are being built together from the ground up.
Governor Jeb Bush joined Dominos Pizza founder, and Ave Maria benefactor – Thomas Monaghan…as well as a number of elected state and local officials for the event.
Monaghan has pledged more than 250-Million of his own dollars to make the project a reality. The university is scheduled to open in 2007 – with the first residential units up by that summer.
Governor Bush says a new university is an exciting thing – but that Ave Maria’s represents something even greater.
Bush says the Ave Maria development will preserve the natural and rural heritage of the Sunshine State.
Expected build-out is in 10 or 15 years – with about 11-thousand homes, which would be a mixture of prices and styles, including workforce housing.
The new 4-thousand-acre town will surround the campus – with a hundred foot tall Church at its center. Once complete – Ave Maria University expects to have about 6-thousand students.
Thomas Monaghan called the day one of the most important of his life. He says he hopes the university will serve as an inspiration.
Monaghan says the new school and surrounding town will be a unique combination of academic and spiritual excellence that doesn’t exist anywhere else.
Barron Collier Companies – which donated much of the land – is a 50-percent partner in the town of Ave Maria.
Friday, 17 February 2006 00:00