Even though the Florida Legislature did not appropriate matching funds, Stan Phelps, owner of Clear Springs Land Co., said his offer for 20 acres of land and $12 million to build a branch campus for Polk Community College still stands.
The gift reportedly is the largest ever made to a Florida community college.
The land and money is for an “advanced global technology center” to be built just east of Bartow on part of the 17,676 acres of Clear Springs land annexed into the city limits.
The center would train a labor force for the high tech industries that Phelps plans to recruit.
In a letter to Dr. Eileen Holden, president of the college, Phelps said:
“Eileen, I know that you have worked very hard toward the realization of this vital project and I have every confidence in your ability to see the Center through to fruition.
“I, along with Clear Springs’ staff, remain available to support and assist in any way possible.”
The gift was made in the assumption that the Legislature would provide a $12 million match for the center.
The $12 million was the largest single item in the “facility enhancement challenge grant program” submitted to the Legislature by the Florida Community College System. The total request was for $46,204,000.
The Legislature appropriated only $8,810,309, more than half for Dade-Miami, and about one fourth for Indian River.