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What happened to Florida Poly PECO funding?

The top-ranked PECO project will go unfunded.

Florida Polytechnic University may not be getting absorbed into the University of Florida, but it isn’t getting any funding for its applied research center either.

The Legislature provided Florida Poly with $7 million to get rolling on the project last year, and the university has received another $22.9 million in funding to keep construction moving.

The 2020 request was $12.75 million — with that funding, the 85,000-square-foot facility would have the cash to take it over the finish line.

According to Florida Poly, ARC would house research and teaching laboratories, student design spaces, conference rooms, and faculty offices.

It seemed as if Florida Poly would get the ARC funding as recently as Friday night. It was the No.1 ranked project on the higher education PECO list, which prioritizes project funding requests from all state universities.

The PECO list was created to avoid situations like the one that played out at the University of Central Florida last year.

The House, in particular, vowed that politics would no longer play a role in PECO allocations and asked the State University System Board of Governors to rank projects so that politics couldn’t get in the way of addressing facility needs.

Yet, when the Legislature released its PECO list the Florida Poly funding had been removed while other, lower ranked projects remained.

The $35 million appropriation for UF’s  Data Science Research (DSR) Lab ranked fifth; the Florida International University engineering building ranked eighth; the Florida State University business school ranked thirteenth; and FAU projects, ranked fourteenth and eighteenth on the list and AD Henderson University Lab School were also included. All were funded in the same PECO budget.

Notably, a multi-purpose facility at New College ranked No. 2 on the BOG list and never made the funding list. New College was also considered for consolidation earlier this Session.

In the absence of FPU funding, many of those universities could receive even more cash. The House and Senate sprinkle lists include millions for a long list of colleges and universities.

In particular, the House sets aside whopping $17 million for operational support at FIU and the Senate list includes $2 million in operational support for FAU. Both chambers want to send $12.5 million in operational support funding to UF.

What happened to the Florida Poly money is a mystery, but it seems the BOG list was all for show.

Written By

Drew Wilson covers legislative campaigns and fundraising for Florida Politics. He is a former editor at The Independent Florida Alligator and business correspondent at The Hollywood Reporter. Wilson, a University of Florida alumnus, covered the state economy and Legislature for LobbyTools and The Florida Current prior to joining Florida Politics.

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