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Florida Lawmakers Approve $22 Million For USF Med School

USF Health
USF and USF Health officials, joined by Jeff Vinik and other Tampa leaders, break ground on the USF Health Morsani College of Medicine in downtown Tampa in December 2015.

The Florida Legislature is getting closer to finalizing its proposed budget, and the State University System stands to pick up a sizable amount of money for construction projects next year.

The $713 million approved during the House and Senate appropriations conference Sunday includes $22.5 million for the University of South Florida Morsani College of Medicine.

That comes on top of $17 million in last year's budget that went to the construction of the new almost $153 million building, a major part of Tampa Bay Lightning owner Jeff Vinik's proposed redevelopment of Tampa's waterfront.  The structure will also house the USF Health Heart Institute, and bring med school students closer to Tampa General Hospital, USF's primary teaching hospital.

The Tampa Bay Partnership, which has backed the project, was quick to speak out in favor of the decision.

"The Tampa Bay Partnership applauds this milestone legislative action, which puts this important project another step closer to reality,” said Rick Homans, President & CEO of the Tampa Bay Partnership. “Moving the USF medical school to downtown Tampa will impact the entire Tampa Bay region by elevating the school's national rankings, attracting the highest quality professors and students, and strengthening our role as a leader in the life science industry."

Other projects approved by the committee include $20 million for the first stage of a downtown Orlando campus for the University of Central Florida. Similar funding for that project was previously vetoed by Governor Rick Scott, who has given no indication if he'll do so again this year.

Mark Schreiner is the assistant news director and intern coordinator for WUSF News.
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