New $100M UF satellite campus could be coming to Jacksonville, focus on AI, medical technology

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The University of Florida and the city are working on plans to build a new graduate satellite campus in Jacksonville.

The project would cost $100 million and Mayor Lenny Curry said he will bring a three-year, $50 million proposal to the Jacksonville City Council while UF and community leaders will seek an additional $50 million in private support.

The city said the campus would build on UF’s and Jacksonville’s long-standing connections in health care, and provide new graduate education programs aimed at supporting the region’s growing workforce needs in biomedical technology and focused on pioneering technology related to simulation, health applications of artificial intelligence, patient quality and safety, health care administration and fintech.

Curry, who spoke during a news conference with UF President Ben Sasse, called the plan a “game changer.”

“Jacksonville has become a leader in both fintech and health care innovation. We have a robust network of Fortune 500 Companies and cutting-edge health facilities, like UF Health, Wolfson’s Children Hospital and the Ackerman Cancer Institutes,” Curry said. “We are excited about the possibility of hosting this University of Florida expansion to foster opportunity, a talent pipeline, and further grow our region’s industry.”

Details are still limited, but from what Curry hinted at in a tweet, the campus could be anywhere from downtown to the greater metro area.

“You have no idea where this is going to go? It’s going to be up for the next mayor, probably, to put this together?” News4JAX asked.

“I would suspect site selection would be done, if not far along, before the next mayor takes office. You guys will know where the site is I would suspect before summer,” Curry said.

News4JAX tried to talk to Sasse, who was on his second day on the job as president, but he refused to answer any questions, saying it was the “mayor’s day.”

He did issue a statement about the campus during the news conference.

“UF is Florida’s flagship university, and we’ve got a special calling to serve Floridians,” Sasse said. “We have a lot to discover and to learn together, but there’s real potential for UF to add to Florida’s skilled workforce, attract new private investment and support existing growth industries. Jacksonville is doing some impressive things and it’s an exciting time for Gator Nation.”

On Monday, on the Gainesville campus, there was a protest by some students faculty and alumni who are worried about possible changes to UF staff and some that are concerned about his relationship with Gov. Ron DeSantis.

The announcement comes more than a year after UF announced another new satellite campus in West Palm Beach.

About the Author:

Jim Piggott is the reporter to count on when it comes to city government and how it will affect the community.