2015 LEGISLATIVE SUMMARY
Heading the list of funding priorities for the University of Florida again this year are construction projects and facility maintenance. Our specific requests are as follows:
Engineering Building – $25 million
These funds will be used to renovate a 50 year‐old College of Engineering building in order to increase the number of engineering degrees and enhance research to encourage economic development. The re‐purposed space will provide state‐of‐the‐art, high‐technology instruction and research lab space, expand instructional program opportunities, foster industry partnerships and improve energy efficiency.
Norman Hall – $8 million
Listed on the National Historic Registry, the College of Education’s Norman Hall has not been updated in years and has critical maintenance needs. This project would renovate the building, transforming it into modern, efficient teaching space. It would also add space for research and training.
Courtelis and Major Gifts Matching Programs
A historical source of funding for new construction is the Alec Courtelis Facilities Matching Program, which provided a one‐to‐one match of state funds to contributions from donors. This program was so successful that the legislature could not provide the matching funds during lean budget years and a significant backlog was created. As a result, the legislature in 2011 placed a moratorium on the program and would no longer add projects to the list. UF’s backlog is $28.2 million or 28% of the SUS total backlog of $100.9 million.
A related issue is the Major Gifts Matching Program, which provides state funds to match major donations made for academic programs. Like Courtelis, the list of eligible matches was frozen in 2011. UF’s backlog is $131 million, or 46% of the SUS backlog of $287 million.
Performance Funding – $100 million new funds
In 2014, the legislature authorized a new Performance Funding program that provides additional funds to universities that meet specific metrics. Under the program, UF last year received an additional $26 million in performance funding, or approximately 21 percent of the SUS total. The Board of Governors is requesting an additional $100M in new recurring funds in 2015‐16 to be matched with $200M from the universities’ base funding.
Preeminence Funding‐ $10M
The University of Florida was designated the State of Florida’s most preeminent university in 2013 and provided $15 million a year for five years to move UF into the top ten of public research universities. The funds are used to hire faculty in specific research categories. Last year, UF and FSU each received another $5 million. UF and FSU are requesting an additional $10 million for each university for the next fiscal year.
IFAS Research and extension activities - $5.5 M
The UF/IFAS top priority during the 2015 Legislative Session is a request of $5.5 million for a 3.5% Workload Increase. With these funds we can begin to restore UF/IFAS by filling critical needs throughout the state and rebuild programs that have been underfunded.
St. Augustine ‐ $1.25 M
The University of Florida was given management responsibility for the state’s 40 historic properties at St. Augustine in 2007, and since that time has worked to renovate buildings, develop museum exhibits and produce a film documentary.
This year, UF is requesting the following: Documentary educational delivery for K‐12 ‐ $250,000. This project would provide curriculum tools for the educational component of a documentary of St. Augustine that was recently completed.
- Research Center and digitization/storage center ‐ $500,000. These funds would be used to digitize the original Spanish records currently held in Spain and make them available for use in the U.S. and for research and teaching.
- Spanish Street connection to St. George Street ‐ $500,000. This would be completed in cooperation with City of St. Augustine.
The 2015 Legislative Session is March 3 - May 1, 2015.