Clay Yarborough seeks big legislative bucks for Jacksonville colleges

UNF, JU, FSCJ could all benefit.

Sen. Clay Yarborough’s budget requests include more than $100 million in asks that could benefit Duval County’s institutions of higher learning.

The bulk of the money, assuming it clears the appropriations process and the Governor’s ultimate discretion, would go to the University of North Florida (UNF).

Yarborough seeks $40,242,365 for the UNF Student Support & Academic Building.

“As identified in the University of North Florida’s last Educational Plant Survey there is need for over 77,000 NSF of study space to support students on campus. Currently, the University has only 64% of space need met in this category. To be located on the former Building 11 site between the Thomas G. Carpenter Library and University Green, this adjacency will build on the success and popularity of the Library Commons space and places it in a prime location in the campus core to serve the needs of the students,” the funding request notes.

Yarborough also wants $30,894,783 for the UNF Mathews Computer Science Building Renovation.

“UNF has exhausted faculty office space for computing programs which have grown to over 1,000 majors and cannot continue to grow without space for additional faculty,” the funding request contends.

The money would go to “renovate three floors of the building, creating expanded curriculum, updated classrooms, study area and collaborative space for students, additional office space,” along with “installation of new ceilings and lighting, update existing HVAC and electrical systems throughout the building, including better control systems and power distribution.”

Another $13,681,975 is sought for the Honors College Academic Addition for “a companion project to the new 521-bed Honors Residence Hall that will house Hicks Honors College students.”

“This academic building will be located adjacent to the residence hall and will include enhanced classrooms, collaboration and innovation spaces, offices, and other student support areas,” per the funding request.

While UNF is getting the bulk of the attention here, other local institutions are in focus as well.

The Senator seeks $18,696,594 for “renovation of buildings, site upgrades, and maintenance of the Public Safety Facilities at FSCJ, including the Fire Academy of the South, Public Service/EMS Facility, and the NE Florida Criminal Justice Center (CJC).”

These facilities are key to first responder training throughout the region, and the CJC holds roughly 50 offices for the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office.

Yarborough also wants $10 million for the Jacksonville University-GROW FL Nurses program for what the funding request calls “three innovative pathways to supplement traditional pipelines and produce more qualified graduates ready for workforce entry.”

It looks to bring students from “new markets to enter the education funnel,” to expand the current BSN program, and expand “specialty graduate nursing programs in psychiatric, rehabilitative, and palliative care — all currently critically underserved as the state’s population increases and ages.”

Additionally, Yarborough wants $15 million in operating costs for UF Health, the city’s safety-net hospital that continually struggles financially given the lack of a dedicated tax to support its functions.

A.G. Gancarski

A.G. Gancarski has written for since 2014. He is based in Northeast Florida. He can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter: @AGGancarski


  • vetopower

    February 26, 2024 at 10:38 am

    FSCJ deserves zero. That place is a mess.

  • MH/Duuuval

    February 26, 2024 at 4:30 pm

    $$$ for private school JU, but nothing for EWU, also a private school in Duval.

Comments are closed.


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