By Tamas Mondovics
Hillsborough Community College (HCC) has recently announced its 2017 legislative priorities and is requesting more than $40 million from the Florida Legislature.
The announcement focused on the institutions goal to expand its programs, to fund the design and construction of a pair of new buildings as well as to respond to critical maintenance issues affecting its campuses.
The college educates more than 45,000 students annually through 160 academic programs supported by close to 2,000 faculty and staff members on campuses in Ruskin, Brandon, Plant City, Ybor City and on Dale Mabry Hwy. in Tampa.
According to a release on its newsroom page the college’s current requests includes $3 million for planning, designing and engineering for a Workforce Transitions Center on the SouthShore campus, located at 551 24th St. N.E. in Ruskin.
The building would contain a new campus Veterans Center, support for HCC’s Lennard Collegiate Academy, multi-purpose classroom spaces, and a large group space for community and college use.
Expansion, however, is not new for the Ruskin area campus, which was built in 2008 on a 100-year-old tomato field donated by the Dickman family.
The steady increase in student count led to the addition of a brand new $10 million two-story, 36,000 sq. ft., Science and Technology building about three years ago that now includes new laboratories, prep labs, computer and traditional classrooms, offices and a deans’ suite.
HCC-SouthShore Campus president, Allen Witt spoke highly of the growth and what it means for the college and the community when he said, “Many students drive past other colleges just to attend HCC’s SouthShore campus. HCC’s funding request also includes $500,000 to launch phase one of a two-phase project titled, Apprenticeship Tampa Bay.
Another $15 million is planned to address district deferred maintenance projects that affect the safety of students and faculty. The money would also cover a wide range of other projects. For more information, visit hccfl.edu.