Budget conference: UWF secures $7.25M for water quality, civil engineering programs
UWF offers some fascinating foliage.

House and Senate negotiators came together on three major projects for the Pensacola university.

Lawmakers are looking to send a lot more money to a Pensacola university.

The latest offer from Senate Education Appropriations shows Senate negotiators agreeing to $7.25 million for the University of West Florida (UWF). While the House still wants more money for the Panhandle school, the agreement shows the chambers coming together for a substantial investment in the 13,000-student school.

That most notably includes $5 million for a Water Quality Research Center at the university.

The university has plans for monitoring water quality throughout Northwest Florida and Alabama’s watersheds. Northwest Florida contains five interstate watersheds which originate in Alabama and empty into Florida’s bays before entering the Gulf of Mexico Basin.

University officials would like to establish trend stations taking samples at four locations and to step up Department of Health water monitoring, as well as mapping seagrass populations and assessing shorelines.

There’s also $1.5 million for an undergraduate Civil Engineering Program at UWF. The school already offers programs for Computer, Electrical and Mechanical Engineering. This round of state funding comes on top of $1.35 million the Legislature budgeted last year to get the program going.

Looking toward the future, the Senate and House agreed to budget $750,000 for a UWF Developmental Laboratory School Feasibility Study. A member request from Sen. Doug Broxson, a Gulf Breeze Republican, said a study would be done in concert with the city of Pensacola and would assess community and curricular needs, developmental research, program costs and other long-term necessities.

“A laboratory school will transform the region by measurably improving student success and incubating and extending best practices in teaching, learning and school leadership,” Broxson’s member request states.

The House also wants to direct nearly $770,000 to the university for launching a program dubbed Florida’s Cyber Coast: AI and Cybersecurity Workforce Development. The Pensacola school has a standout cybersecurity program providing a foundation for such work. But right now, Senate negotiators haven’t devoted any money for that purpose.

Jacob Ogles

Jacob Ogles has covered politics in Florida since 2000 for regional outlets including SRQ Magazine in Sarasota, The News-Press in Fort Myers and The Daily Commercial in Leesburg. His work has appeared nationally in The Advocate, Wired and other publications. Events like SRQ’s Where The Votes Are workshops made Ogles one of Southwest Florida’s most respected political analysts, and outlets like WWSB ABC 7 and WSRQ Sarasota have featured his insights. He can be reached at [email protected].


Florida Politics is a statewide, new media platform covering campaigns, elections, government, policy, and lobbying in Florida. This platform and all of its content are owned by Extensive Enterprises Media.

Publisher: Peter Schorsch @PeterSchorschFL

Contributors & reporters: Phil Ammann, Drew Dixon, Roseanne Dunkelberger, A.G. Gancarski, Anne Geggis, Ryan Nicol, Jacob Ogles, Cole Pepper, Gray Rohrer, Jesse Scheckner, Christine Sexton, Drew Wilson, and Mike Wright.

Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @PeterSchorschFL
Phone: (727) 642-3162
Address: 204 37th Avenue North #182
St. Petersburg, Florida 33704

Sign up for Sunburn