Florida Gulf Coast University
10501 FGCU Blvd S.
Fort Myers, FL. 33965-6565
Phone: (239) 590-1500
Fax: (239) 590-1505
FGCU’s property in Buckingham in eastern Lee County was acquired from the State of Florida as surplus land in 2010. The 500-acre gated site off Buckingham Road was long operated as Gulf Coast Center, a residential facility for people with development disabilities. FGCU’s Board of Trustees accepted the land donation after the state phased out such large-scale institutions in favor of smaller, community-based group homes.
Approximately 300 acres of the land are developed with paved roads and about 60 structures built mostly in the 1950s and ‘60s. They include residences that housed 300 people, a gymnasium, chapel, swimming pool, softball field, dining hall, water plant, laundry facilities and infirmary. The remainder of the property remains in its natural state.
In September 2011, FGCU’s Campus Recreation staff opened the Eagle Challenge Course on 10 acres of grassland amid pockets of pine uplands and oak hammocks at the complex. Funded by FGCU’s Student Government, the course includes rope-climbing exercises, a zip line and other challenging activities that are used by groups on retreat to build teamwork, trust, communication and fitness. A staff trained by Campus Rec’s Outdoor Pursuits division books and supervises programs and maintains the site.
Facilities Planning is working with other university departments to identify feasible future uses for the Buckingham property, including short-term and long-term uses. Although most of the buildings are not currently being used, they are connected to water and sewer utilities. Located 18 miles north of the FGCU campus, the property could accommodate research facilities, renewable energy projects or other educational or recreational uses.