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LAKELAND, Fla. – Florida Polytechnic University today unveiled its new Applied Research Center, a cutting-edge facility that will strengthen Florida Poly’s position as a premier STEM institution and an engine for economic development. The $47 million building substantially expands the University’s research capabilities and will be instrumental to Florida Poly’s mission to serve students and industry through excellence in education, discovery, and application of engineering and applied sciences. 

At more than 90,000 square feet, the Applied Research Center (ARC) houses research and teaching laboratories, student design spaces, conference rooms, faculty offices, and multiple study areas. Students and faculty will have a fuller, more comprehensive academic experience as they enjoy a more than doubled lab and research space on campus. 

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The $47 million Applied Research Center expands the University’s research capabilities and was designed to serve as a research hub for high-tech innovation.

The University community was joined by elected officials and local leaders to celebrate the grand opening of the ultra-modern building that enhances the already distinctive Lakeland campus. Speakers at the event included University President Randy Avent, Cliff Otto, chairman of Florida Poly’s Board of Trustees, Congressman Scott Franklin, and two members of the state legislature who were instrumental to the opening of the ARC, Senator Kelli Stargel and Representative Colleen Burton.

“Since 2014, students from across the country have chosen Florida Polytechnic because of the unique learning environment the university offers. The ARC will ensure we continue to recruit top faculty and students who can feel confident that we have the technology and resources they need to research and innovate,” Stargel said. “It has been an honor to work with my Senate colleagues to secure more than $20 million in state funding for this new state-of-the-art research facility, and I am looking forward to the opportunity to celebrate with our entire community as we mark this tremendous expansion of Florida Poly’s campus.”

The Polk County delegation stood behind Florida Poly as the Legislature approved the necessary funding to finalize the two-story building, which is the University’s second academic facility.

“I am very proud to be a member of the Polk County legislative delegation. Each one of us has worked closely together to make sure this university continues to grow, serve students, bring economic development to Polk County and the entire Central Florida, and continues to enrich the lives of all Floridians,” Burton said.

With state-of-the-art research space and equipment, the ARC was designed to become a research hub for innovation and a magnet for high-tech industry. Its design complements the architecturally renowned Innovation, Science, and Technology (IST) Building, featuring large reflective windows and expansive views of the campus. 

“The future is bright for Florida Poly, and our ambitions are high. Our goal is to be a premier STEM university known for producing highly desirable graduates and new technology solutions,” Avent said. “I strongly believe that with the new Applied Research Center, we are charging full speed toward that goal.” 

Construction of the ARC began in fall 2019. It is located on the northwest side of the campus, adjacent to the iconic IST Building, and is also visible from I-4. The builder of the project was Skanska USA, which also developed the IST, and was designed by architecture firm HOK.

About Florida Polytechnic University: Florida Polytechnic University is a nationally ranked Top 100 engineering college, accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, and a member of the State University System of Florida. It is the only state university dedicated exclusively to STEM and offers ABET-accredited degrees. Florida Poly is a powerful economic engine within the state of Florida, blending applied research with industry partnerships to give students an academically rigorous education with real-world relevance. Florida Poly’s iconic Innovation, Science, and Technology Building, designed by world-renowned architect Dr. Santiago Calatrava, has won more than 20 global awards and was named one of the 16 most breathtaking buildings in the worldConnectwith Florida Poly.

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