LAKELAND, Fla. – Florida Polytechnic University cut the ribbon Thursday and welcomed supporters to its new Admissions Center, the University’s first on-campus building open to the public.
Community, business and political leaders gathered inside the 5,000-square-foot Admissions Center on Research Way to experience the modern, energy-efficient facility firsthand. The high-tech Admissions Center features a video wall, roll-up insulated glass doors for indoor-outdoor functions and a pair of robots that greet visitors as they enter.
Chief Operating Officer Ava L. Parker expressed appreciation for the support, advocacy and encouragement of state and local leaders as well as industry partners and foundation members.
“Florida Polytechnic could not have reached this milestone without the support of community stakeholders who appreciate and embrace the Florida Poly vision to develop an innovative university dedicated to preparing students for jobs in engineering and technology that are vital to our state’s and our nation’s economic future.”
“You are our voice as Florida Poly develops the campus infrastructure for a university focused on problem-solving research and developing close ties with business and industry.”
About 100 people attended the open house, including state, county and local political leaders. They included:
- Florida Sen. Kelli Stargel, Rep. Neil Combee, Rep. John Wood and former Sen. J.D. Alexander.
- Polk County Commission Chair Todd Dantzler and Commissioners Melony Bell and Edwin V. Smith.
- Lakeland Mayor Gow Fields and City Commissioners Phillip Walker and Howard Wiggs.
“The opening of the Admissions Center is most important for the students and their families,” said Mayor Fields, who helped cut the purple ribbon at the opening ceremony. “It is a place that they can visit to see and experience what Florida Polytechnic is about and has to offer. It is symbolic of a great start for Florida Polytechnic. It builds on the momentum that is growing about this University and the impact it will have locally and for the state.”
Sen. Stargel echoed his comments. “This is a very exciting day. I am constantly getting questions about how the University is progressing. This is a great building. It makes the right statement in our community.”
Commissioner Bell added: “We have lived the dream of developing the University. Today it has become a reality. I’m not sure if people realize the impact that Florida Polytechnic University will have on our community. It will be phenomenal.”
Former Sen. Alexander, an early and vocal supporter of the University, said that the “opening of the Admissions Center is a tangible symbol of the hard work that has gone into creating the University.”
“If I were a student and visited the Admissions Center and learned about the University’s vision, I would find it exciting and want to be part of it,” Sen. Alexander said. “This new Admissions Center helps to communicate the vision of the University.”
Likewise, he noted that the flagship Innovation, Science & Technology Building under construction, and visible to motorists on Interstate 4, “makes the perfect statement of what this educational institution is about. It inspires us and gives a sense of place.”
Also among the guests were members of Florida Poly Vision Inc., a group of local and regional leaders who have supported Florida Poly’s development from its earliest stages and share the University’s vision to prepare students to lead high-tech industries in Florida.
“I refer to the new Admissions Center as the ‘Poly portal.’ It is the entrance to the University and represents an incredible opportunity for students to gain an understanding of this institution,‘’ said Robert O. Kincart, president of A-C-T Environmental & Infrastructure and a Foundation Board member.
Kincart, a Poly Vision member and industry partner with the University, added: “I am excited about helping to make history happen. Having a polytechnic university here is so important to this area.”
Florida Poly is the newest member of the State University System of Florida and is dedicated to applied research and learning in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). The University will welcome its inaugural class of freshmen, transfer and graduate students in August 2014.
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