$10 mil for USF St. Pete’s biz school spared from veto list

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A $10 million expansion of the USF St. Petersburg business school has successfully made it through the massive $77 billion Florida budget signed on Monday by Gov. Rick Scott.

The 2014 budget for USFSP now stands at $15 million, part of more than $250 million allotted for the Florida university system, an increase of nearly $83 million for construction projects, compared to the current year. Also included are $41 million in capital improvement fees paid by students.

USFSP Business classes are currently spread out in a number of locations. Construction of a business school building is at the “Piano Man” Building, now used for classrooms and faculty offices.

“Governor Scott has been a tremendous supporter of USF System projects throughout his time in office,” USF President Judy Genshaft said in a statement. “USF and our legislative and community partners have been working with the Governor’s Office for weeks to demonstrate the educational and economic development benefits” of those projects.

Other USF projects in the new budget are $15 million for expansions in the Heart Health Institute, and $5 million for the university’s Morsani College of Medicine.

Also in included in the 2014-2015 spending plan is $2.5 million for the Bay Pines marine science lab at St. Petersburg College. The center will be located by the shores of the 55-acre lagoon off Boca Ciega Bay—referred to by locals as “Hurricane Hole” — next to the Bay Pines VA Medical Center.

Phil Ammann is a St. Petersburg-based journalist and blogger. With more than three decades of writing, editing and management experience, Phil produced material for both print and online, in addition to founding HRNewsDaily.com. His broad range includes covering news, local government and culture reviews for Patch.com, technical articles and profiles for BetterRVing Magazine and advice columns for a metaphysical website, among others. Phil has served as a contributor and production manager for SaintPetersBlog since 2013. He lives in St. Pete with his wife, visual artist Margaret Juul and can be reached at phil@floridapolitics.com and on Twitter @PhilAmmann.