Bethune-Cookman leaders announce plans for major upgrades to campus facilities

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — Bethune-Cookman University officials held a press conference Wednesday afternoon to announce a series of major upgrades to campus facilities.


The announcement comes weeks after NFL Hall-of-Famer Ed Reed- who had been tapped to become B-CU’s next head football coach- criticized the school on social media and students protested on campus.

READ: Course framework for controversial AP African American Studies class released

B-CU has since reversed its decision on the hiring of Reed.

Campus officials say the proposed changes are not a result of Reed’s comments.

B-CU Interim President Lawrence Drake says over the past several months, they’ve gone through each campus facility to find which ones need work. Drake says there is now a plan in place to make it happen.

READ: Attack on Seminole County mail carrier for special key the latest in growing crime trend

However, B-CU students say they’re still skeptical. It’s been just over a week since students packed the streets in protest of the conditions on campus.

“I think it’s really just people that need to do a better job,” student-athlete Zarielle Pickens said.

In response, Drake is promising students they’ll start to see changes soon.

READ: Fourteen football players from Jones sign National Letters of Intent

“Yes, there are issues where we have microbiological growth that we’re trying to remediate, but we have to do that very carefully so as not to displace our students, not to disrupt their education and learning experience,” Drake said.

He says at least 60 buildings on campus have some sort of problem, ranging from mold to infrastructure upgrades.

Drake says B-CU has committed $10 million to complete the work. He also says the university has added financial reports to its website in an effort to be more transparent.

READ: ‘The system is flawed’: Inmate beaten by officers in viral video speaks out

“You will see there’s a progression of what our net income is every year, and how we’ve spent the money, because that’s public knowledge,” Drake said.

Students like Pickens say they’re still not buying it.

“I see them trying to clean up now, but they probably should have been doing that,” Pickens said. “I don’t regret going to an HBCU at all, but there’s expectations that I have and I just pray for the best.”

READ: DeSantis: Special session on Disney’s Reedy Creek expected next week

At Wednesday’s press conference, B-CU officials also said they’re close to hiring a new football coach.

Drake wasn’t ready Wednesday to say who they’re recommending for the position, but said the search has been narrowed down to one person, and that a major announcement would be coming soon.

Click here to download the free WFTV news and weather apps, click here to download the WFTV Now app for your smart TV and click here to stream Channel 9 Eyewitness News live.