PBSC gets $9 million from Legislature to complete new campus
Palm Beach State College leaders are celebrating the news that $9 million allocated by the Florida Legislature to complete the first phase of the fifth campus under construction in Loxahatchee Groves also has survived the governor’s veto pen.
Gov. Rick Scott announced on Tuesday his plans to slice approximately $256.1 million in projects before signing the “Florida First” spending plan into law. PBSC’s long-planned campus, which will create greater access to higher education and job training for residents and businesses in Palm Beach County’s west-central area, is not among the cuts. The campus will serve more than 3,000 students initially.
“The Legislature and Gov. Scott understand the need for the new campus and recognize the valuable benefits to our community and our state,’’ said PBSC President Ava L. Parker, J.D. “We are deeply appreciative of their funding support, as it will enable us to move full steam ahead to complete construction this year and to prepare to welcome our first class of students.”
The first building, a 50,000-square-foot multipurpose facility, is slated for completion this fall on the 75-acre campus on Southern Boulevard west of B Road. It is the major piece of the $30 million first phase that also included building and site design, paving, drainage, utility infrastructure and the furniture, fixtures and equipment. While some classes or information sessions will be offered at the new campus this fall, a complete schedule of courses will begin in January 2017.
With health sciences and technology as the initial focus of the Loxahatchee Groves campus, the College will offer the Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree, Health Information Technology Associate in Science degree, Health Informatics Specialist certificate, Medical Information Coder/Biller certificate and Medical Transcription applied technology diploma. General courses leading to the Associate in Arts degree also will be offered. Last month, the College signed a memorandum of understanding with Boca Raton-based Modernizing Medicine to create an innovative training hub at the campus. The MOU provides that Modernizing Medicine would give PBSC students training for healthcare jobs, access to its groundbreaking iPad-based electronic health record (EHR) system, modmed EMA™, and practice management system, modmed PM™. In exchange, Modernizing Medicine, which employs approximately 500 people, would have access to certain campus facilities to provide training to its customers.
The idea of a possible fifth campus first surfaced in August 2004 when the District Board of Trustees authorized former PBSC president Dr. Dennis P. Gallon, who retired last June, to pursue a feasibility study. The Florida Board of Education approved Palm Beach State’s request to build a fifth campus in April 2006, and the College finalized the purchase of the 75 acres in October 2012. The campus will bear Gallon’s name.
The Legislature had already approved $6 million for the campus in 2014. The remaining $15 million from the project is coming from local funds.