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Report: Altamonte Springs expansion will create dozens of programs, partnerships

The master plan for the Altamonte Springs Campus calls for the creation of 1.4 million square feet of space.

Seminole State College of Florida’s Academic Affairs leadership has identified new degrees and programs in high demand areas and possible partners that can help transform the Altamonte Springs Campus into a regional center for education and job opportunities.

"The expansion of our Altamonte Springs Campus will transform the landscape for connecting jobs to higher education,” said Dr. Joe Sarnovsky, executive vice president at Seminole State.  “With public-private partnerships, we’re looking to transform this campus -- with nine buildings as high as 15 stories -- and create a place where students can learn and also find high-paying jobs.”

The plan, which was brought before the Board of Trustees at its meeting on Monday, Sept. 23, identifies master's, bachelor's and associate degrees in areas that show the fastest growth in the region. It also describes potential partners – including two anchor partnerships -- that would fund the construction of the 43-acre campus.

The plan is crucial as the College moves forward with the expansion of the campus, Sarnovsky said. Once the College receives final zoning approval from Altamonte Springs, possibly as early as next month, Requests for Proposals (RFPs) can be issued to move the project forward.

Capitalizing on strong partnerships with the University of Central Florida and Seminole County Public Schools will help the College develop the programs needed to serve the region, Sarnovsky said.

“Today is the day to solicit anchor partners,” he said. “UCF and Seminole County Public Schools can consider this a direct solicitation.”

The planning document calls for academic programs and partnerships in five high-demand areas: healthcare; modeling and simulation; education; business; and hospitality.

“Now that we’ve identified the type of academic programs that will be successful at the campus, we can move forward,” Sarnovsky said. “We now have the guiding principles for the historic expansion of the campus.”

According to the report, presented by Dr. Laura Ross, vice president of Academic Affairs, the College is looking for partners that will elevate Seminole State's visibility or stature. They also must align with the College’s mission and complement what the College offers, not duplicate or compete.

“This is our vision if we were to build the whole campus tomorrow,” Ross said. “We also realize that the plan will evolve as the campus develops.”

Seminole State's Academic Affairs Leadership Team analyzed the demographics of the area around the campus, an area that has the highest concentration of jobs outside downtown Orlando. Also factored in were occupations that are most in demand, those expected to show the most growth, and feedback from business and community leaders.

Public-Private Partnerships

Sarnovsky said the plan is to develop all 43 acres at the campus, creating “a unique kind of co-op” where the partnership would serve on an advisory board.

The expansion, to be built in phases as partners are approved by the Board, would create more than 1.4 million square feet of space, more than all of Seminole State’s current campuses combined. Construction would be funded entirely through public-private partnerships. A master plan, approved by the Board in December, calls for nine buildings as high as 15 stories as well as parking structures at the campus.

In August, the Board designated the project as a public-private partnership.

HB 85, which went into effect July 1, gives public entities authority to enter into public-private partnership agreements for facilities that “serve a public purpose.”

Seminole State is the first college in Florida moving forward with this legislation on a large scale, Sarnovsky said.

The Altamonte Springs Campus, located at the corner of Maitland Boulevard and S.R. 434, opened at capacity in 2008. The campus expanded to 43 acres in 2012 when the College completed the purchase of three adjacent car dealership buildings.

The Board of Trustees will meet Oct. 21 at the Altamonte Springs Campus in a joint session with the Seminole County School Board. The two boards are expected to discuss possible academic partnerships at the campus.

This is one of two public-private partnership projects that were authorized by the Board in August. RFPs for partners for a proposed wellness center for the Sanford/Lake Mary Campus will be issued later this month, Sarnovsky said.

To learn more about the Altamonte Springs Campus expansion, please visit the master plan page.

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