Wednesday, June 20, 2018
Education

USF hands keys over to new Florida Polytechnic University

SARASOTA — Florida Polytechnic University is on its own now.

University of South Florida president Judy Genshaft told the state's Board of Governors on Thursday that it has turned over all of the old USF Polytechnic assets in Lakeland to the new state university.

"We're done!" Genshaft said excitedly.

The controversial law that created Florida Polytechnic earlier this year required USF to give the new university all the resources it had on the Lakeland campus. In return, USF would get $10 million to allow existing students to finish their degrees in Lakeland with USF Poly faculty. The school can now petition the state for that money.

"The Board of Trustees for the Florida Polytechnic University has already hit the ground running on the complicated and intense process of bringing this institution to life," Rob Gidel, chair of the Florida Polytechnic University Board of Trustees, said through a spokeswoman. "The transfer of assets from the University of South Florida was a hugely important step forward for us. We are now 'live.' "

Transitioning assets, such as deeds to land where the new Florida Polytechnic campus will be located, called for complicated negotiations over several months, Genshaft said. Now, Florida Polytechnic is completely in charge as it continues the arduous process of starting a university from scratch.

"They have accepted everything," Genshaft said. "Everything's fine. Everything's good."

Members of the Board of Governors — which oversees the state university system — and presidents from the state's other universities applauded Genshaft at the end of her remarks.

Board of Governors members have raised concerns about the costs and other issues associated with starting a new university, Florida's 12th.

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