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HCC will receive $366,000 refund from controversial Regent construction funds

RIVERVIEW — Hillsborough Community College has requested the reimbursement of nearly half its $750,000 payment toward building the Regent, a controversial events center in Riverview, a college spokeswoman said.

The college recently conducted a financial review of spending by the Brandon Community Advantage Center, the board that operates the Regent and oversaw its construction.

The board used about $116,000 for nonconstruction expenses and did not spend $250,000 of the college's contribution, HCC spokeswoman Ashley Carl said.

That's in violation of HCC's agreement with the board to cover only construction costs with the college's payment, which came from state funding, Carl said.

"They were very amenable and understood and were in agreement," Carl said.

The board's attorney, Marshall Rainey, said HCC and the BCAC had interpreted the contract differently. Still, he said, the board will repay the $366,000.

"As long as it's being spent on the building," Rainey said, "we're fine by that."

The terms of the reimbursement have not yet been finalized, but Carl said the college expects an immediate return of the leftover $250,000. The other $116,000, she said, would likely be repaid over 10 years and accrue interest.

The excess funds will be placed in a capital account, which will be controlled by HCC, to be used for future repairs on the building, Carl said.

The Regent, which opened in January, received nearly $7 million in public money from local, state and federal allocations for event spaces, classrooms and hurricane-resistant walls.

HCC owns the Regent and offers classes on the lower level as a satellite of its Brandon campus. The BCAC runs the ballrooms and multipurpose room, paying HCC monthly fees of $10 for its lease and $1,600 for utilities.

The board is currently undergoing a county audit after local officials and residents questioned the use of public funds, concerned about the Regent's fancy look and its lack of availability for community groups.

HCC will receive $366,000 refund from controversial Regent construction funds 08/18/11 [Last modified: Thursday, August 18, 2011 11:19pm]
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