Polk State College is celebrating the conclusion of the 2023 Regular Legislative Session with $22.3 million in special appropriations for critical capital improvement projects. The proposed budget includes funding for two of the College’s three legislative priorities: $16.2 million to complete the development and construction of Phase I of the Polk State Haines City Campus and $6.1 million to address critical renovations to Building 1 on the Polk State Lakeland Campus.
“We are grateful to the members of the Polk County Legislative Delegation who continue to prioritize the higher education needs of students and their families.”
Dr. Angela Garcia Falconetti
President, Polk State College
Senator Colleen Burton, Representative Jennifer Canady, and Representative Josie Tomkow sponsored the College’s legislative funding requests. Senator Ben Albritton, Representative Melony Bell, and Representative Sam Killebrew were steadfast in their support of and advocacy for the College throughout the legislative session. The work of the entire delegation continues to expand opportunities for Polk State and Polk County.
“We are grateful to the members of the Polk County Legislative Delegation who continue to prioritize the higher education needs of students and their families,” said Dr. Angela Garcia Falconetti, President of Polk State College. “These funds will allow us to provide access to quality, affordable higher education programs and workforce training in Northeast Polk, the fastest growing part of our community, and to modernize existing facilities on the Lakeland Campus.”
Polk State College purchased a 7.8-acre site in Haines City on U.S. 27 in 2009 in anticipation of future growth and following the completion of a needs assessment in 2006. Thanks to the work of Polk Delegation, the College was able to secure $13.8 million during the 2022 Session to begin the design and site work for the project.
The development of a campus in Northeast Polk County has been a priority for Garcia Falconetti since she began her tenure as president in 2017. According to data from Polk County, Northeast Polk is projected to have an additional 201,000 people and 91,000 dwelling units by 2045. This growth is also expected to bring an estimated additional 38,500 K-12 students.
“Our County is growing and the need to provide access to affordable higher education and workforce training is critical to developing economic opportunities and enhanced quality of life for students and their families,” Garcia Falconetti said. “Polk State is the community’s college, and we want to ensure that no matter where individuals live in Polk County, anyone who wants to further their education and training can do so with us.”
While the budget still needs to be approved by Governor Ron DeSantis, President Garcia Falconetti continues to work in partnership with the Polk State District Board of Trustees, the Polk State College Foundation Board, and the members of the Polk County Legislative Delegation to achieve the best outcome for the College. Governor DeSantis is to make final decisions by the beginning of the fiscal year, July 1.