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Gibbons name may go on alumni center

University of South Florida (USF) officials said Thursday that they will name a proposed alumni center after U.S. Rep. Sam Gibbons and Martha Gibbons, his wife.

The alumni center, for which private contributions are being sought, would be on the southeast corner of the Tampa campus, near a new presidential mansion and hospitality center. Construction is expected to begin this summer.

Both projects are by the USF Foundation, a private group that raises money for the university. But tax dollars would pay some maintenance and operating expenses.

The $1.2-million mansion would cost taxpayers about $46,000 a year, according to state budget documents.

The more expensive alumni center is still in the planning stages. About $2.1-million has been raised, but the foundation needs about $2.5-million more.

Carol Roddenberry, a spokeswoman for the foundation, said the new building is needed to provide office space for alumni and development officials, and for alumni and other groups to have a meeting space on campus.

As a young state legislator, Sam Gibbons took charge of legislation that created USF in 1956. Later, as a congressman, he helped establish a medical school at USF.

Privately financed university buildings must be approved by the Board of Regents and the Legislature. If the fund-raising drive goes as planned, the center would open in summer 1994.