Florida Polytechnic University

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The east side of the ISTC Building at Florida Polytechnic University on February 4th 2014

Coordinates: 27°59′48.57″N 81°53′38.95″W / 27.9968250°N 81.8941528°W / 27.9968250; -81.8941528

Florida Polytechnic University
Established 2012
Type Public
Chairman Robert H. Gidel
President Randy K. Avent
Provost Ghazi Darkazalli
Academic staff 3 (currently hiring)
Admin. staff 48
Students ca. 500 enrolling August 2014
Undergraduates 0
Postgraduates 0
Location Lakeland, Florida, United States
Campus Suburban
Colors purple and white
Website http://floridapolytechnic.org

Florida Polytechnic University (Florida Poly or FPU) is a public university in Lakeland, Florida, United States. Florida Poly 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. The new campus, designed by Santiago Calatrava, is set to open for classes for Fall 2014, and plans to be fully accredited by 2016.


The University of South Florida opened its satellite campus in Lakeland in 1988. University of South Florida Polytechnic 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 2,000 students, and the school's backers secured state funding for a separate campus, eventually choosing a site near Interstate 4. In 2009 Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava was selected to design the campus' first building.[1]

Meanwhile, the institution's backers, most prominently Florida State Senator JD Alexander, initiated a campaign to break USF Polytechnic away from USF and form an independent university. In 2011, Alexander proposed a 2012-13 state budget that provided $33 million for the move.[2][3] 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.[4] 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.[5] 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.[6] 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 as an independent institution, and closed down USF Polytechnic. The law took effect on July 1, 2012.[7][8]


  1. ^ Lawrence Biemiller (June 16, 200). "Calatrava Will Design First Building for U. of South Florida Polytechnic’s New Campus". The Chronicle of Higher Education. Retrieved September 27, 2012. 
  2. ^ Pransky, Noah. "USF Budget Cuts". 10 News fighting to #SaveUSF. 10 News Tampa. Retrieved 16 February 2012. 
  3. ^ Sanders, Katie. "PolitiFact Florida: Understanding the USF budget battle". Tampa Bay Tribune. Retrieved 16 February 2012. 
  4. ^ "JD Alexander is the face of what's wrong with Florida" Tampa Bay Times, March 4, 2012
  5. ^ "USF-Poly gets conditional permission to break from USF, but won't happen immediately". WTSP. 2011-11-10. Retrieved 2012-07-01. 
  6. ^ "JD Alexander is the face of what's wrong with Florida". Tampa Bay Times. 2012-03-04. Retrieved 2012-07-01. 
  7. ^ "Scott Signs Bill to Establish Florida Poly as State's 12th University". The Ledger. 2012-04-20. Retrieved 2012-07-01. 
  8. ^ "Scott signs law creating independent Florida Polytechnic in Polk Co.". Bay News 9. 2012-04-20. Retrieved 2012-07-01. 

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