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SCPS invited to become anchor partner in Altamonte Springs Campus expansion

Members of the Seminole County School Board and the Seminole State College Board of Trustees face each other during a workshop at the Altamonte Springs Campus on Oct. 21.

Seminole State College of Florida’s District Board of Trustees extended an official invitation to the Seminole County School Board to become an anchor partner for the planned expansion of the Altamonte Springs Campus during a joint workshop on Monday, Oct. 21.

“The place to start is with you,” Seminole State Executive Vice President Dr. Joe Sarnovsky told school board members during the work session, held at the Altamonte Springs Campus. “Our focus is on educating the residents of Seminole County. We don’t want to go before any other partners before you are completely satisfied.”

Sarnovsky presented the College’s vision for the campus, calling it “an educational-themed town park center.” When fully built, the campus will include 1.4 million square feet of space and eight new high-rise buildings and parking structures. Sarnovsky said at capacity, the campus would be more like a mini-city with up to 35,000 students and 1,000 full-time employees.

During the meeting, staff members from SCPS and Seminole State staff were directed to collaborate through the academic year to determine the type of programs that would be beneficial for SCPS, Sarnovsky said.

Construction of the expanded campus would be funded entirely through public-private partnerships. 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.

Both boards also agreed to meet once a year to maintain the momentum of their strategic partnerships.   

In addition to SCPS, the College has identified the University of Central Florida as an anchor partner for the project. Seminole State held an informal meeting with UCF this past summer to consider participation.  

The College plans to solicit proposals for resident partners at the campus starting next spring.

In September, Dr. Laura Ross, vice president of Academic Affairs, presented a report to the Board of Trustees that outlined the degrees and programs and possible partners at the campus. The plan identifies new master's, bachelor's and associate degrees in five high-demand areas: healthcare; modeling and simulation; education; business; and hospitality.

Dual Enrollment growth

The joint meeting was also an opportunity for the county’s two public education boards to discuss a number of common issues, including recent legislative changes and dual enrollment.

 In 2012, Seminole State and SCPS, realizing how important dual enrollment is to students and their parents, agreed to expand dual enrollment offerings at the county’s nine high schools. 

When state legislators changed Florida’s dual-enrollment funding model July 1, SCPS and Seminole State worked out a shared cost approach that increased the number of courses this year, introduced new programs and increased dual-enrollment participation. The number of SCPS dual-enrollment students is up 38 percent over last year’s Fall Term. 

More than 50 percent of recent SCPS graduates who go on to postsecondary education attend Seminole State.

For more information on the Altamonte Springs Campus expansion, please visit the campus website.

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