Florida's newest university makes debut in Lakeland - WJBF-TV ABC 6 Augusta-Aiken

Florida's newest university makes debut in Lakeland

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The school's Chief Operating Officer Ava L. Parker addresses the crowd on Saturday. The school's Chief Operating Officer Ava L. Parker addresses the crowd on Saturday.
LAKELAND, FL (WFLA) - Florida Polytechnic University officially opened for business Saturday in Lakeland.

Governor Rick Scott was among the more than 1,000 supporters, students and faculty that attended the facility's launch celebration. The event marked the school's grand opening and the completion of the Science and Technology Building.

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The ceremony was followed by a vivid pyrotechnics display that showered the lake adjacent to the IST building.

“I'm grateful to all of the special guests who have joined us to celebrate the launch of Florida's next great university,” said Florida Polytechnic University President Dr. Randy Avent. “What's truly remarkable is that every single component of the school, including the cutting-edge IST Building, has been designed around our mission to prepare students to become innovative problem solvers and high-tech professionals.”

The curriculum is dedicated exclusively to STEM – Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics – and that approach emphasizes real-world problem solving, work experience and applied research.

Saturday's event followed a gala on Friday that generated more than $3.6 million to support scholarships for the University's inaugural class.

If you've traveled through Polk County recently you've probably seen the 162,000-square-foot, white domed IST building. The unique structure features a louvered roof system that adjusts with the sun's angle and is surrounded by a ring of curved metal pergolas that shade its outer terrace and walkways.

The building houses classrooms, auditoriums, administrative offices, common areas and a number of laboratories. Construction of the IST took 28 months and was completed by Skanska USA, a construction and development company based in New York.

With the IST Building and residence hall complete, Florida Polytechnic is now ready to welcome students for the inaugural day of classes on August 25, 2014. The University will offer six undergraduate degree programs with 19 unique areas of concentration and two master's degree programs in the College of Engineering and the College of Innovation and Technology.
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