Florida Legislature Increases BCC's Funding By $26.7 Million

BREVARD COUNTY, FL. – The Florida Legislature has given Brevard Community College a total $26.7 million funding increase for the next fiscal year to construct a new Public Safety Institute, advance programs to help students succeed, and to make needed building renovations.


The money was contained in the $70 billion state budget for fiscal year 2012-13 that lawmakers passed on March 9 and Gov. Rick Scott signed on April 17.

The allocation comes as the College embarks on a plan launched by its President, Dr. Jim Richey, to focus on academic programs and business partnerships to help create jobs and revive the Space Coast economy.

Among the programs is a recent decision by the Board of Trustees to have the college start offering four-year degrees in Organizational Management starting in August 2013, a first in the college’s history.


BCC contends that the funding will play an important part in the College achieving its goals after the recession caused several years of steep budget cuts from Tallahassee.  “We’re extremely grateful to lawmakers and Gov. Scott for their support and confidence in BCC,” said Richey.  “It is recognition that they see the funding as an investment in the future of Brevard and its citizens by providing high-quality education to our students and helping efforts to revive the local economy. Our entire community will benefit from this.”

The funding increase comes in addition to the approximate $36 million the Legislative also allocated to BCC in general operating revenue, which is the same amount the College received last year.

The largest part of the funding boost is a one-time $14 million allocation to purchase land, install infrastructure and build a Public Safety Institute on BCC’s new proposed campus in Viera, Florida, which is located near the Brevard County Government Center.


 
According to BCC, the institute is needed because the primary facility now used – a converted outdoor basketball court on the Melbourne Campus – has reached the end of its useful life and the state Department of Education has determined it should be replaced.

The new institute will consolidate public safety programs currently located across BCC campuses in Titusville, Cocoa, Melbourne and Palm Bay, and as well as off campus at Port Canaveral, Florida.



The institute will house a Police Academy and programs in fire science, emergency medical technicians, criminal justice, criminal science, corrections and 911 operators.

The 40,000-equare-foot facility will contain classrooms, labs and faculty offices and could open its doors in 2014.  Possible future plans call for eventually expanding the Viera campus by adding two more buildings to house degree programs in health sciences and business.

The College also received an additional $7 million for college program enhancements, which will advance President Richey’s new initiatives to help ensure student success.

Some of the initiatives include:

1. The newly opened Career Planning and Development Center on the Cocoa Campus

The center offers state-of-the-art services to help students select the right careers and is working to increase business internships and professional mentoring so that students gain good jobs upon graduation.

2. Opening Teaching and Learning Centers on all four campuses

The goal of the centers is to improve academic performance by using full-time faculty tutors and staff to focus on the basic skills students need but sometimes lack when they get to BCC.

3. Enhancing student advisement to make sure students are fully integrated into the College in their first few weeks and months in college

That approach would provide students a clear path forward in their education and reduce the number of students who enroll but later do not return.


Finally, the college received another $5.7 million for building improvements and renovations.

BCC claims that the money is badly needed because the College has $125 million in deferred projects that were put on hold because of budget cuts, and that the funding will allow the College to target projects that will improve student instructional space and upgrade systems to improve efficiency and save money. The work list includes roofs, air conditioning systems, electrical systems and fire alarm systems.