Florida Polytechnic University
|Florida Polytechnic University|
|Location||Lakeland, Florida, United States|
Florida Polytechnic University (FPU) is a public university in Lakeland, Florida, United States. FPU is a member institution of the State University System of Florida, and is the state's only public polytechnic university. The institution originated as University of South Florida Polytechnic, a branch campus of the University of South Florida that opened in 1988. In 2012 it was split off as an independent university, becoming the twelfth and newest member of the State University System. It anticipates opening for Fall 2014.
The University of South Florida opened its polytechnic-oriented satellite campus in Lakeland in 1988. University of South Florida Polytechnic, as it was known, initially shared its grounds with the Lakeland campus of Polk Community College (now Polk State College). By the 2000s it had grown to enroll over 4,000 students, and the school's backers secured state funding for a separate campus, eventually choosing a site near Interstate 4. In 2009 renowned Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava was selected to design the campus' first building.
Meanwhile, the institution's backers, most prominently Florida State Senator JD Alexander, initiated a campaign to break USF Polytechnic away from the USF and form an independent university. In 2011 Alexander proposed a 2012-13 state budget that provided $33 million for the move. Like the acquisition of the new campus, the proposed split was controversial in some quarters, as it came during a tight budget year and was unpopular with USF students and faculty. In response to Alexander's proposal, the Florida Board of Governors approved a multi-year plan to allow USF Polytechnic to gain independence gradually once it met certain criteria, including accreditation, the construction of residence halls and the development of a STEM curriculum. Displeased with the Board's compromise, Alexander introduced a new budget for the state universities that included immediate independence for USF Polytechnic, effectively bypassing the Board of Governors. On April 20, 2012, Governor Rick Scott signed into law Alexander's budget for the State University System, including the provision that created Florida Polytechnic University, an independent institution, and closed down USF Polytechnic. The law took effect on July 1, 2012.
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- "USF-Poly gets conditional permission to break from USF, but won't happen immediately". WTSP. 2011-11-10. Retrieved 2012-07-01.
- "JD Alexander is the face of what's wrong with Florida". Tampa Bay Times. 2012-03-04. Retrieved 2012-07-01.
- "Scott Signs Bill to Establish Florida Poly as State's 12th University". The Ledger. 2012-04-20. Retrieved 2012-07-01.
- "Scott signs law creating independent Florida Polytechnic in Polk Co.". Bay News 9. 2012-04-20. Retrieved 2012-07-01.
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