MANATEE -- Florida legislators found $5 million for a new library at State College of Florida’s Bradenton campus, and $6.3 million for remodeling and repairs at New College of Florida, officials said this week.
The money appears to be tucked into the state’s nearly $70 billion budget, approved last weekend by the Legislature, which arrived at its final product after a session-long struggle over how to spend diminished funds.
Gov. Rick Scott still must approve it.
“Given the challenges that legislators faced, I am extremely gratified and appreciative that our legislative delegation succeeded in allocating these funds for SCF because they realized the importance of keeping this project moving forward, not only for our students but also for the community,” said SCF President Lars A. Hafner in a statement from the college.
“The SCF library has a lot of traffic and our students need a modern library that accommodates current research and studying resources,” he said.
A project like the library, with a total price tag estimated at about $41.8 million, translates to an investment in economic development via jobs and capital improvement, Hafner said.
SCF is still far short of the funds it needs for the library project The total earmarked for the library now totals $9.5 million.
Legislators also provided SCF with $599,976 for college-wide general remodeling and renovation for all of its campuses, located at Bradenton, Lakewood Ranch and Venice, according to information provided by Kathy Walker, SCF’s director for public affairs and marketing.
The University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee, on the border between Manatee and Sarasota counties, received $162,000 for deferred maintenance, including roof repairs, said Chris Manring, director of university relations.
“We were told by the (state) Board of Governors and legislative folks there wouldn’t be any money -- zero,” said John Martin, New College vice president for finance and administration, who was surprised when some became available.
“It will help the college, will help the economy, the same with the SCF money; it will create some jobs, I’m sure,” Martin said.
New College, located on the border of Manatee and Sarasota counties, plans to spend about $4.6 million of its allocation renovating five buildings on its campus, two dating from the 1930s, Martin said.
“We’re going to be replacing the heating, ventilation and air-conditioning systems, we’re going to bring them up to current Florida building and safety codes,” he said.
The college also plans to improve accessibility for the handicapped, upgrade electrical systems, and improve energy efficiency, he said.
In the two buildings dating from the 1930s, it would replace windows and doors, repair interior plaster and do roof repairs, Martin said.
About $1.7 million of the money would go toward campus infrastructure improvements, such as utilities, electrical distribution system, water-sewer system, and other major building repairs, Martin explained.
New College on Thursday celebrated the award of six Fulbright scholarships for 2011-12, bringing its historical total to 63 Fulbright recipients, officials said.
This year’s awards -- all from the 2011 graduating class -- reinforce New College’s consistent ranking as a top producer of Fulbright scholars, with one of the highest number per capita among all colleges and universities, they said.
Sara Kennedy, Herald reporter, can be reached at (941) 745-7031.