UWF loses out on more than $33M due to Gov. DeSantis vetoes
UWF offers some fascinating foliage.

That included more than $26M for expanding the science and education college there.

Plans for a science and research wing at the University of West Florida may have to wait.

Gov. Ron DeSantis vetoed more than $26.2 million from the state budget for the project. Sen. Doug Broxson, a Gulf Breeze Republican, and Rep. Michelle Salzman, a Pensacola Republican, sought out the funding.

The plan was for the funding to support expansion of the Hal Marcus College of Science and Engineering. When the Legislature approved the funding, it was to go toward a planned $47.3 million multiyear appropriations request.

“Currently UWF is leasing research space in downtown Pensacola,” read a request submitted to lawmakers from Project Manager Mel Manor. “When constructed, the building addition will allow for labs currently housed in remote off campus leased facilities to be brought back to campus. The project will provide expanded research space and contribute directly to the overall enhanced educational experience for students.”

The hit for the Pensacola university appeared to be the single biggest veto of spending dedicated for a specific university in the state, though DeSantis dealt a number of blows to projects tied to state schools. Overall, he nixed more than $33 million budgets for the Panhandle university.

DeSantis vetoed nearly $1 billion from the state budget in total.

DeSantis also axed $750,000 earmarked for UWF for an Educational Research Center for Child Development Expansion. Broxson also championed that request, while Rep. Alex Andrade, a Pensacola Republican, handled the project in the House.

The school also lost out on $750,000 for a Developmental Laboratory School Feasibility Study, $1.5 million for an Undergraduate Civil Engineering Program, and $5 million for a Water Quality Research Center. In the House, Salzman sought funding for the study. Rep. Patt Maney filed the request for the civil engineering effort. Broxson handled all three projects in the Senate.

UWF is based in Pensacola and serves more than 14,000 students, based on enrollment figures last Fall.

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].

One comment

  • rbruce

    June 12, 2024 at 9:36 pm

    UWF can’t lose money it never had. The $33mil doesn’t belong to UWF or the Gov’t. It belongs to the taxpayer. If these projects are important, then raise tuition or raise funds privately.

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