POLK COUNTY, Fla. - The creation of the state’s 12th university turned into a polarizing issue this spring, but a new group hopes to put an end to the controversy.
Florida Poly Vision consists of about 100 business and community leaders in Polk County.
The group is trying to take on the role of an alumni or booster organization for Florida Polytechnic University.
“We felt there needed to be a support group for this new university,” said Vic Story, Co-Chair of Florida Poly Vision.
The members pooled their money, hired a PR firm, created a web site, and recruited more community members like County Commissioner Melony Bell.
“For us to turn our back and continue with the negativity would have been so wrong,” she said. “So it’s time for us to come together as a community and support this university.”
The group hopes to eventually meet with the new board of trustees once it is in place.
They also plan to raise money for scholarships to lure students to the new university.
One challenge may be supporting something that isn’t even built yet. Right now, there’s not much to see at the construction site -- only dirt, some heavy machinery, and the occasional outdated sign that reads “USF Polytechnic Campus.”
“This is an opportunity of a lifetime for Polk County,” Story said.
The new university sits in a rural part of the county, but Story is confident the region will take on a new look.
He remembers when USF was a quiet little campus in Tampa when it started.
“You look at it today, and it’s amazing,” he said.
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