FAU leaders envision new 'college-town' neighborhood

Idea is to develop FAU border on NW 20th St.

BOCA RATON, Fla. - You may not think it, but Boca Raton is a college town. It has three schools in its city limits.

Now leaders at Florida Atlantic University are pushing to make Boca Raton feel more like a college town. Students say the college atmosphere disappears when you leave campus.

Thursday the energy is back at FAU. The band marched around campus as students moved everything from their cars to their dorms.

"It's exciting," said FAU Sophomore Thomas Conner.

Others approach the new school year with some reservations.

"There's a really big divide [between the city and FAU], so it would be nice to bridge that somehow get everybody involved," said Soraya Leathers, a junior at FAU.

The university's new president, John Kelly, has a vision to solve that issue.

He is trying to lure private companies to develop the area along NW 20th Street bordering campus with cafés, restaurants, entertainment and apartments for students.

When asked their opinion, students embraced the idea.

"Yeah, that's awesome," said Melanie Cardante, a sophomore. "That's what we need."

"If you want a treat or something like that, if you want to go out, there's literally nothing," explained Kristie Caton, a junior.

President Kelly hopes the development would embed FAU in the city and encourage students to be more involved by connecting with faculty and friends.

"We want FAU to be family. We want it to be a place where when you come here, you do want to graduate on time, but you're suffering while you're leaving because you've had such a great experience to carry with you the rest of your life," he pointed out.

Next leaders from the city and the school will coordinate a master plan for the project.

This semester students at FAU will work on drafting part of the master plan.

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