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Southwest Florida Music Education Center acquires Hodges University property in Naples

Southwest Florida Music Education Center (SWFLMEC) has acquired the Gaynor building, at 2655 Northbrooke Drive, part of the former Hodges University Naples campus, with plans to transform it into the new music center’s permanent campus. The building sold for just over $10 million.

The 43,097-square-foot building on 5.8 acres was not in full use and was put on the market in 2021 by Hodges University. It will provide the SWFLMEC, a post-secondary center for musically talented, neurodivergent young adults, with practice rooms, classrooms, recording studio, a practice performance stage and administrative space, accommodating up to 50 full-time students starting in fall 2024. Plans for the campus include adding a student dormitory, performance site and additional program space.

“This is such an exciting opportunity for the center, and we plan to move from our current Artis-Naples space into this space by fall 2024,” said SWFLMEC Founder and Board Chair Rob Moher. “Ideally, we’d love to have our dormitory built by that time as well, but that will be determined by community support and the success of our fundraising efforts.”

Eventually, the center hopes to also be able to offer semi-independent housing onsite for students as well as additional small and medium performance sites and program space.

Availability of the Hodges University building has helped speed the development of a permanent campus for the SWFLMEC, which since 2019, has offered the community small-scale, low-cost collaborative music education for neurodivergent and neurotypical peers through a program entitled The Creative Group. This fall, the center will begin offering two-year and four-year post-secondary music certificates at Artis-Naples’ Toni Stabile Education Building, focusing on core areas of musical skill development for students who learn differently than their typical peers. The program is a partnership with the Berklee Institute for Arts Education and Special Needs of the Berklee College of Music in Boston.

“When we launched the programming, we started raising funds with the idea that we would eventually be building a campus,” said Jennifer Clark, vice president of the Southwest Florida Music Education Center. “The availability of this property, with its proximity to I-75 and other educational partners, allows us to fast-track expansion of this unique program that will serve as a model for other programs nationally. We are grateful for the donors who have supported the vision so far and look forward to engaging more supporters as we expand this program to more students while continuing to integrate it into the community.”

For more information about certificate programs or to support the project, contact Jennifer Clark at JenC@SWFLmusic.org or 239-205-8258 or visit swflmusic.org.

About the Southwest Florida Music Education Center

The Southwest Florida Music Education Center is a not-for-profit organization serving neurodivergent young adults with a strong interest in music. Based in Naples, Florida, its mission is to create a world-class music education center where neurodivergent students who have a strong interest in music and low to moderate support needs receive education in music and life skills, preparing them for meaningful growth opportunities that enrich their lives and the community. For more information, visit SWFLmusic.org.

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