2014 LEGISLATIVE SUMMARY
The 2014 Florida Legislative Session ended on Friday, May 2, 2014. Thank you for your support of the University of Florida.
The Florida Senate and House of Representatives have approved a state budget that takes effect on July 1. The budget provides more than $100 million in additional funding for the University of Florida. Those appropriations include the following:
$25.9 million in new, recurring dollars from a fund established to reward universities for performance on metrics that were developed by the Board of Governors. This amount is an estimate and will be allocated by the Board of Governors.
$20 million for a new Chemistry Building. This is in addition to $22 million appropriated by the legislature in prior years to replace an outdated building that can no longer accommodate the increasing demand for Chemistry classes and laboratories.
$16 million to $18 million for UF Health Cancer Center for an initiative championed by Governor Scott to obtain National Cancer Institute (NCI) designation. NCI designation will provide additional state and federal funding and access to more clinical trials. With the partnership with UF Health Orlando Cancer Center and the UF Proton Institute, the UF Cancer Center will now be the largest in Florida.
$13.5 million for facilities maintenance and repairs.
$3 million to $4 million in additional funding for critical deferred maintenance. This willhelp offset a backlog of repair work created by recent budget cuts.
$10 million to renovate the historic Newell Hall into a student study center.
$5 million in additional preeminence funding. The legislature last year appropriated $15 million to help UF achieve Top Ten status by attracting and retaining outstanding faculty. This will bring preeminence funding up to $20 million per year.
$3 million for the renovation of UF’s historic properties in St. Augustine. These structures were turned over to UF in 2007 and the university has been restoring and renovating them since that time.
$2 million for the College of Education’s Lastinger Center Algebra Nation. This is an innovative online program for teaching algebra to high school students.
$2 million for Summer Algebra Nation.
$500,000 for the College of Education’s Lastinger Center Teaching Point.
$2 million to IFAS for research and extension activities.
$2 million to IFAS for the SW Florida Immokalee Research Center.
$1.5 million to IFAS for a Bok Tower Educational Partnership.
$1.25 million for UF Health’s Center for Neurodegenerative Disease.
$712,000 for the Whitney Laboratory for Marine Biosciences. This funding will be used to expand housing for students and visiting scientists at the research facility outside St. Augustine.
$500,000 for the College of Education’s High Risk Delinquent Youth Research program.
$400,000 to IFAS for Cervidae Disease Research in support of research on two specific types of diseases affecting the state's deer population.
$275,000 to IFAS for Cattle Research.
$100,000 to IFAS for Caladium Research.
$150,000 increase in funding for the New World School of the Arts.
In addition, the Institute for the Commercialization of Public Research received $4.5 million. The Institute, which is headquartered at UF’s Innovation Hub, provides seed funding for companies that are created from the research conducted at Florida’s public universities.
The budget is not final until it is signed by Governor Rick Scott.
In addition to the budget, the legislature passed a UF priority relating to research. The bill exempts from public records the names of UF researchers who conduct research involving animals. The university sought this legislation to help prevent ongoing
personal harassment of researchers and their families by extremist groups.
We are grateful to the Florida Senate and House of Representatives for their support of the University of Florida and look forward to a productive year.
2014 Legislative Priorities
Heading the list of funding priorities for the University of Florida this year are construction projects and facility maintenance.
Our specific requests are as follows:
The University of Florida Department of Chemistry has grown significantly in recent years and now ranks in the top five chemistry departments nationally in Ph. D. production and is among the top 20 in bachelor’s graduates. The facility, built in 1927, has not been updated or expanded in many years and cannot handle the student demand for laboratory space.
The legislature appropriated $15 million last year and UF is requesting an additional $15 million for FY 2014-15. The funding will be used to construct a new building that will house undergraduate teaching laboratories, classrooms, research laboratories and offices.
Newell Hall Renovation
The top priority for UF students is creating additional study spaces on campus, and the university is supporting that request by seeking a $15 million appropriation to renovate Newell Hall.
Our vision for Newell Hall, the third-oldest building on campus, is to turn it into a learning commons, with individual and group study spaces. In addition to open plan study rooms, the renovated Newell Hall would include 24/7 secured access, a hi-technology environment, food vending services, and an outdoor courtyard with wireless internet access.
Critical Deferred Maintenance
Declining state funding for campus infrastructure and building maintenance has delayed important work on UF’s buildings. UF has more than 100 buildings on campus that are on the historical registry or are more than 50 years of age. Several of
those facilities are now at a critical stage and are desperately in need of repairs. We are asking for $60 million to properly maintain them and enable us to provide facilities in support of our academic mission and quest for preeminence.
Engineering Building Renovation/Enhancement
Increasing the number of engineering graduates is key to economic development. Yet, a high percentage of freshmen engineering majors at all major colleges of engineering, including UF, drop out before they have a chance to get into the engineering curriculum. Currently, their course work is limited to classroom learning, and the students are not exposed to the design and prototyping laboratories that stimulate their interest in becoming engineers until their junior or senior years.
UF is seeking to change that by renovating and expanding a building that will provide additional laboratory space for these students. The building will also include a biomedical engineering laboratory to help grow an already strong program, a 21st Century Classroom and Telepresence Lab to connect students with global experts and encourage collaboration among students, faculty, entrepreneurs, and an area to foster industry interactions with the goal of expediting transfer of ideas and
talent to the marketplace. UF is requesting $25 million for this building.
St. Augustine Renovations
In 2007, the University of Florida was charged with the management of historic properties in downtown St. Augustine. Since then, UF has made consistent progress toward its goal of maintaining these 40 properties, and developing educational programs and exhibits in the city.
This year, UF is requesting $10 million to continue renovations including Government House, which is one of the state’s most significant structures. Funds would also be used to repurpose the Joaneda House for educational programs, recreate the gardens at the Ribera House and enhance the visitor experience by upgrading signage, displays, and tour guide scripts for the St. Augustine properties.
Alec Courtelis Facilities Matching Program
For many years, the Florida Legislature matched private contributions for the construction of university buildings with state funds. This program incentivized donors to support academic facilities and enabled the state to construct buildings at half the cost.
The State of Florida temporarily suspended the Courtelis Fund during the economic downturn and has yet to reinstate it. UF has $28.2 million in private donations on the list of unmatched projects. The university is requesting that the legislature appropriate funds to begin matching the backlog of contributions for building construction.
The 2013 Legislative Session is March 4 - May 2, 2014.