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Calling it a decision that will benefit future generations, Palm Beach County approved a deal to bring a University of Florida graduate campus to West Palm Beach.
Officials believe the partnership with the country’s sixth-ranked public university, which in turn will bring thousands of highly skilled graduate students to the area, will eventually allow Palm Beach County to attract more high-tech companies and jobs.
The campus is scheduled to open in the fall of 2026 and will offer graduate, executive and professional-level education. The plan is for it to be located in a three-block area east of Tamarind Avenue, from Clematis Street to Fern Street. While specific plans are still being formulated, officials said the campus would contain residential housing as well.
County Commissioners rapturously supported the approval on Tuesday, referring to it as a “touchdown” and a “no-brainer.”
“We have issues attracting more companies to Palm Beach County and one of those issues is a skilled workforce,” County Commissioner Robert Weinroth said. “I think this is a fundamental strength we’re going to be able to present to companies who are looking to relocate to South Florida, and I think this is going to be another arrow in our quiver.”
During Tuesday’s meeting, University of Florida President Kent Fuchs said the school was seeking to create a graduate campus in an urban area and that Palm Beach County was an ideal location, citing its large footprint in the area. Palm Beach County has more 20,000 University of Florida alumni and nearly 4,000 current undergraduate students, Fuchs said.
“We want to be known worldwide as making a difference and being a national leader in education and being a national leader in a vibrant, growing part of our nation, and that’s why we’re attracted to Palm Beach County,” Fuchs said.
“We’d like to create the best of both worlds for the University of Florida — having a wonderful residential campus in Gainesville, but then having a presence that has focused graduate programs in an urban setting.”
The new campus will be the second significant partnership between the county and university within the past two months. In July, the University of Florida announced it was in discussions to partner with Scripps Research, which would bolster the biomedical research company’s 30-acre campus in Jupiter. As a result, UF would integrate the research wing of its academic health center with Scripps.