University system looks for construction money


The Florida Board of Governors agreed Thursday to ask lawmakers for $228 million in university-system construction projects and $48.6 million for maintenance in the next state budget.

The Public Education Capital Outlay, or PECO, proposal makes maintenance funding the top priority as lawmakers head into the 2018 session.

The construction projects are broken into two groups, with 13 higher-priority projects totaling $123 million.

A second list includes seven projects totaling $105 million. Major projects on the first list include $12.6 million for the University of South Florida's Morsani College of Medicine and Heart Health Institute in downtown Tampa and $13 million for Florida State University's Earth Ocean Atmospheric Sciences building.

The top priority on the second list is $27.5 million for a Data Science and Information Technology building at the University of Florida.

The current state budget includes $45 million for maintenance work for the universities and $146 million in construction projects.

But projects may be in doubt next year, with House leaders saying they may not fund the PECO program given other financial challenges the state faces in the 2018-2019 budget.