LAKELAND, Fla. – Florida Polytechnic University leaders and community and state officials gathered to celebrate the groundbreaking of the Applied Research Center, a new iconic building on campus that will serve as a research hub for students, faculty, and high-tech industry in the region.
The Applied Research Center (ARC) will be an over 85,000-square-foot facility that will house research and teaching laboratories, as well as student design spaces, conference rooms, and faculty offices. The ARC will be Florida Poly’s second academic building and will become a magnet for leading faculty and cutting-edge research.
“The ARC will promote research growth and excellence for the University’s applied science and engineering programs,” said Dr. Randy K. Avent, president of Florida Poly. “It was designed with the goal of creating a dynamic, functional, and flexible space that will assist our faculty and students with the commercialization of innovation and applied research.”
The two-story building will be located on the northwest side of campus adjacent to the Innovation, Science, and Technology (IST) Building and will be visible from I-4. The builder of the ARC is Skanska USA, which also developed the IST Building, and the architect design firm is HOK. Construction is expected to take two years.
“The vision of this university is to prepare students to be able to go forward to have an applied job in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) and to adjust and meet the needs of our nation in a quick and nimble way is very exciting,” said state Sen. Kelli Stargel, who spoke during the ceremony. “I look forward to seeing the fruition of this building and doing everything I can to make sure that we continue with the vision of what Florida Poly is going to be for Polk County and for the state of Florida.”
State Rep. Colleen Burton also was present at the event and said the transformation of the Polk County’s educational landscape with the addition of Florida Poly has been immense.
“Florida Poly has exceeded our expectations,” she said. “This groundbreaking of the Applied Research Center is a personal moment of great privilege. I have been able, during my brief tenure so far in the House, to try to make sure this building came to fruition and came to reality. It will be a great economic development boom for our community.”
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