Florida Polytechnic University

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Coordinates: 28°08′41.2″N 81°51′03.1″W / 28.144778°N 81.850861°W / 28.144778; -81.850861

Florida Polytechnic University
Florida, Polytechnic, & University on three lines, center aligned and in purple. Florida & Polytechnic are separated by a horizontal bar (the width of "Polytechnic"), written in bold, and a slightly larger font size than "University".
Other name
Florida Poly
Type Public, state university, Semester
Established April 20, 2012; 5 years ago (2012-04-20)[1]
Chairman Frank T. Martin
President Randy K. Avent
Provost Terry Parker
Academic staff
Administrative staff
Students ca. 1,300 (Fall 2016)[2]
Location Lakeland, Florida, United States
Campus Suburban
Colors     Royal Purple
Mascot Phoenix
Affiliations State University System of Florida
Website https://floridapolytechnic.org

Florida Polytechnic University (Florida Poly) is a public university in Lakeland, Florida, United States. Created as an independent university in 2012, it is the newest of the twelve institutions in the State University System of Florida. It is the state's only public polytechnic university, and focuses heavily on STEM education.[4]

The institution originated as a branch campus of the University of South Florida, University of South Florida Lakeland, which opened in 1988. The State of Florida authorized a new campus in 2008, and renamed the school University of South Florida Polytechnic. In 2012, the Florida Legislature initiated plans to dissolve the USF branch campus and reform the Lakeland institution into an independent school. Florida Poly opened for classes on August 25, 2014 with an inaugural class of 554 students.[5] The university submitted its initial application for regional accreditation in December 2014.[6] In March 2016, the Florida Poly administration announced that the university would not meet its original accreditation deadline of December 31, 2016. A budget bill sent to the office of Gov. Rick Scott would extend the school’s accreditation deadline until December 2017.[7] [8]

Florida Poly resides on a 170-acre[9] campus designed by architect Santiago Calatrava. The university's Innovation, Science and Technology (IST) Building is home to a supercomputer,[10] 3-D printing lab, cyber gaming and media lab, cyber security lab, robotics lab, big data lab, and digital library. Florida Poly is the first university whose main library is completely digital.[11]


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

The University of South Florida opened a satellite campus in Lakeland – University of South Florida Lakeland – in 1988.[12] The branch shared its grounds with the Lakeland campus of Polk Community College (now Polk State College). By the 2000s it had grown to enroll around 4,000 students, and the local business owners secured state funding for a separate campus in 2008. The same year, USF's trustees renamed the campus University of South Florida Polytechnic, reflecting a new focus on STEM education.[12][13] A site near Interstate 4 was chosen for the new campus. In 2009 Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava was selected to design the campus' first building.[13]

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, Florida Polytechnic University. In 2011 Alexander proposed a 2012-13 state budget that provided $33 million for the move.[14][15] 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.[16] In response to Alexander's proposal, the Florida Board of Governors approved a multi-year plan to allow Florida Polytechnic to gain independence gradually once it met certain criteria, including accreditation, the construction of residence halls, and the development of a STEM curriculum.[17] Displeased with the Board's compromise, Alexander introduced a new budget for the state universities that included immediate independence from USF Polytechnic, effectively bypassing the Board of Governors.[18]

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.[19][20] In a letter that accompanied the signed legislation (SB 1994[21]) creating Florida Poly, Scott noted that Florida Poly, with its strong focus on STEM programs, will be a key component of the State University System of Florida meeting the goals outlined in its 2012-2015 Strategic Plan. The strategic plan requires the State University System to increase STEM degree production from 9,605 to 22,500 per year by 2025.[7]

The University had its inaugural commencement ceremony on Jan 3, 2017. Fourteen students graduated with the Master of Science and four students were awarded the Bachelor of Science.[22] The commencement speaker was JD Alexander, the former State Senator known for his advocacy of a STEM university in Lakeland.


The university houses two colleges that offer six baccalaureate programs, two master's programs and 19 areas of concentration.[23] Curriculums and classroom facilities are designed to facilitate hands-on, applied learning, and degree programs are focused on preparing students for STEM-related careers.[24]


  • College of Innovation and Technology
  • College of Engineering


The Inaugural Class of students at Florida Poly had an average incoming GPA of 3.9 and test scores of 1750 on the SAT and 25 on the ACT.[25]

Industry partnerships[edit]

Florida Poly collaborates with more than 80 high-tech corporate, government and non-government organizations that provide guidance on curriculum development, assist with research and offer internship opportunities that stress real-world experience.[26] Industry partners include Microsoft, Lockheed Martin, Mosaic, Cisco and Harris Corporation.[27] In Sept 2016, the University announced a long-term partnership with the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT). The FDOT will build a 400-acre technology test facility, which will include a 2.25-mile test track.[28]


The Florida Industrial and Phosphate Research (FIPR) Institute is a Florida Poly research institution. The FIPR institute supports phosphate-related studies to improve the environment, protect public health and increase mining and processing efficiency. FIPR Institute’s staff biologists, engineers and chemists also conduct in-house research, and the institute supports some non-phosphate topics such as energy and the mining and processing of other minerals.[29]


Florida Poly’s 170-acre campus includes the Innovation, Science and Technology (IST) Building, a residence hall, admissions center, campus control center and Wellness Center. The Wellness Center includes a bookstore, health clinic, fitness room, mail center, dining hall and Starbucks Coffee.[30] The University Trail, which connects the University to the Lakeland campus of Polk State College is one of many biking trails connected to the campus.

IST Building[edit]

The 162,000-square-foot IST Building is the University’s main facility. It houses 26 classrooms, 11 innovation laboratories, auditoriums and other meeting rooms.[31] The building is also home to the school’s digital library.

Designed by Spanish architect Dr. Santiago Calatrava, the building includes 94 robotic louvers on the roof that move to accommodate changing sunlight patterns.[32][33]

Digital Library[edit]

Florida Poly’s IST Building includes a bookless library where students can access more than 135,000 digital titles on their choice of reader, tablet or laptop.[34][35] Students still have access to librarians and a reference desk to receive tutoring, resources and training to manage digital materials.[36] Hard copy books can be requested on loan from libraries at Florida's 11 other public universities.

Supercomputer and Student Data Center Lab[edit]

Florida Poly’s Supercomputer is a high-performance, high-speed and high-capacity IBM computer that is six feet tall and covers the length of the room that it occupies in the IST Building. The Lab allows for high-speed computing, information mapping, academic initiative computing,|data digestion and interactive visualization interfaces.[10]

Rapid Application Development (RAD) Makerspace Lab[edit]

The RAD Makerspace Lab is an interdisciplinary environment with 55 3-D printers, digital scanners, AutoCAD software and RAD technology for software development. This Lab includes core engineering, computer engineering, and computer science fields of study and advanced prototyping and adaptive manufacturing technology and techniques.[37]


  1. ^ "Florida Polytechnic University - SUSF". State University System of Florida. Retrieved June 7, 2014. 
  2. ^ a b "Florida Poly Kicks off its Third Academic Year with Record High Enrollment". floridapolytechnic.org. Retrieved 2016-08-22. 
  3. ^ "Florida Polytechnic University Fact Sheet". floridapolytechnic.org. Retrieved 2016-05-03. 
  4. ^ "Florida Polytechnic University". i4 Business. Retrieved 28 August 2014. 
  5. ^ Toothman, Mary. "Students Settle Into College Life as Classes Begin at Florida Polytechnic University". The Ledger. Retrieved 25 August 2014. 
  6. ^ "Florida Polytechnic University: Frequently Asked Questions". Florida Polytechnic University. Retrieved 4 March 2015. 
  7. ^ a b "Letter by Governor Rick Scott to Ken Detzner, Secretary of State". The Florida Office of the Governor. Retrieved 20 April 2012. 
  8. ^ Larrabee, Brandon (18 March 2016). "Florida Poly accreditation delayed". Tampa Bay Business Journal. 
  9. ^ Madsen, Deane. "Santiago Calatrava's Florida Polytechnic University Opens Tomorrow". Architect, the Magazine of The American Institute of Architects. Retrieved 15 August 2014. 
  10. ^ a b Meyer, Leila. "Florida Polytechnic U Develops New Supercomputing Center". Campus Technology. Retrieved 14 August 2014. 
  11. ^ Scott, Simon. "Florida Polytechnic Library Goes Book-Free". NPR. Retrieved 6 September 2014. 
  12. ^ a b Jerome R. Stockfish (August 3, 2014). "Florida Poly rises from pasture, ready for students". TBO.com. Retrieved July 5, 2016. 
  13. ^ a b Lawrence Biemiller (June 16, 2009). "Calatrava Will Design First Building for U. of South Florida Polytechnic's New Campus". The Chronicle of Higher Education. Retrieved September 27, 2012. 
  14. ^ Pransky, Noah. "USF Budget Cuts". 10 News fighting to #SaveUSF. 10 News Tampa. Retrieved 16 February 2012. 
  15. ^ Sanders, Katie. "PolitiFact Florida: Understanding the USF budget battle". Tampa Bay Tribune. Retrieved 16 February 2012. 
  16. ^ "JD Alexander is the face of what's wrong with Florida" Tampa Bay Times, March 4, 2012
  17. ^ "USF-Poly gets conditional permission to break from USF, but won't happen immediately". WTSP. 2011-11-10. Retrieved 2012-07-01. 
  18. ^ "JD Alexander is the face of what's wrong with Florida". Tampa Bay Times. 2012-03-04. Retrieved 2012-07-01. 
  19. ^ "Scott Signs Bill to Establish Florida Poly as State's 12th University". The Ledger. 2012-04-20. Retrieved 2012-07-01. 
  20. ^ "Scott signs law creating independent Florida Polytechnic in Polk Co.". Bay News 9. 2012-04-20. Retrieved 2012-07-01. 
  21. ^ "SB 1994: Postsecondary Education". The Florida Senate. Retrieved 22 April 2012. 
  22. ^ "Florida Polytechnic celebrates an early milestone as first grads turn their tassels". TBO.com. 2017-01-04. Retrieved 2017-01-30. 
  23. ^ Mitchell, Tia. "Florida Polytechnic survives controversy to enroll its first STEM students". Miami Herald. Retrieved 24 August 2014. 
  24. ^ Sarmah, Satta. "Should Universities Be Built in Silicon Valley's Image?". Fast Company. Retrieved 27 June 2014. 
  25. ^ "Did U Know?". Florida State University System. Retrieved 4 March 2015. 
  26. ^ "Florida Poly's 1st President: Front and Center". Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved 15 December 2014. 
  27. ^ "Industry Partners". Florida Polytechnic University. Retrieved 4 March 2015. 
  28. ^ "FDOT Announces Partnership with Florida Poly to Develop SunTrax". Florida Polytechnic University. Retrieved 2017-01-30. 
  29. ^ "Florida Industrial and Phosphate Research Institute". Florida Polytechnic University. Retrieved 4 March 2015. 
  30. ^ Reaves, Shayla. "Florida Polytechnic University welcomes inaugural class". MyFox Tampa Bay. Retrieved 20 October 2014. 
  31. ^ Kyle, Hightower. "Lofty goals for new Florida Polytechnic University". The Washington Times. Retrieved 27 July 2014. 
  32. ^ Chino, Mike. "Santiago Calatrava's Spectacular New Building is a Living, Moving Creature From Out of This World". Inhabitat. Retrieved 12 August 2014. 
  33. ^ "What's That Big White Dome on I-4?". Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved 30 January 2015. 
  34. ^ Kellogg, Carolyn. "Florida Polytechnic University opens with a bookless library". LA Times. Retrieved 20 August 2014. 
  35. ^ "High-tech Florida Polytechnic University opens BOOKLESS library...but students can access over 135,000 ebooks on electronic devices". Daily Mail. Retrieved 29 August 2014. 
  36. ^ Stein, Letitia. "Library without books debuts at Florida's newest college". Reuters. Retrieved 25 August 2014. 
  37. ^ "MakerBot and Florida Polytechnic University Partner to Bring MakerBot 3D Printing to the Florida Poly RAD Makerspace". Marketwatch. Retrieved 23 July 2014. 

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