LEESBURG, Fla. – Lake-Sumter State College (LSSC) is gearing up for another exciting year thanks to historic state investments in the Florida College System. In June, the District Board of Trustees approved a $64.4 million budget for 2023-2024, the largest in College history, including $37.7 million in operating expenses and $18.6 million for capital projects.
Thanks to a new funding model for the Florida College System (FCS) developed collaboratively with the Education Commissioner Manny Diaz, the Florida Department of Education, and FCS presidents, the entire system saw an increase of $100 million across the 28-state college system in this year’s state budget. This investment supports state colleges throughout the system that are working to meet high-demand workforce growth across their service areas.
“We are thankful to the Florida legislature, particularly our local delegation, and Governor DeSantis for their continued support of the mission of Lake-Sumter State College and the Florida College System,” said Dr. Heather Bigard, President of Lake-Sumter State College. “I’m proud of the College’s fiscally conservative budget planning that now positions us to make investments of strategic priorities to maximize access to postsecondary credentials across Lake and Sumter Counties.”
In the coming year, LSSC will create new and expand existing programs in high-demand career fields, including allied health and nursing, commercial driver training (CDL), construction management, electric utility lineworkers, information technology, teacher education, and wastewater treatment.
The budget also includes the addition of a new teaching location in Four Corners and a CDL & Lineworker training facility in North Eustis.
The upcoming year will see LSSC address a growing list of deferred maintenance projects, including HVAC system replacements, repaving, roof replacements, and life safety improvements. These upgrades will allow LSSC to be more efficient and cost-effective, ultimately decreasing utility costs and environmental impacts.
LSSC is also proud to receive $17.5 million from the State of Florida for the establishment of a state-of-the-art Workforce Development Center on the Leesburg Campus. The 50,000-square-foot facility is designed to meet the evolving needs of the local workforce and will provide LSSC students with access to modern classrooms and spaces that facilitate immersive, hands-on experiences in both new and existing programs.
“This new facility will revolutionize how we serve our students and equip them for success in today’s workforce,” President Bigard stated. “LSSC extends our gratitude to Governor DeSantis, Sen. Baxley, Sen. Ingoglia, Rep. McClain, Rep. Truenow, Rep. Temple, and Rep. Yarkosky, for their unwavering support of LSSC and our community. This project will have a significantly positive influence locally.”
(Lake Sumter State College President Bigard.)
The new budget also invests resources back into LSSC employees by providing competitive salary increases and increased investments in professional development and training opportunities.
“Our dedicated employees make our mission a reality on a daily basis,” says President Bigard. “I am proud to be able to financially recognize them for their service to this College and our community.”
The year ahead is truly an exciting one for Lake-Sumter State College and this community.
“I look forward to continued collaboration with our employees and members of our community as we work toward our strategic priorities in higher education access, workforce development, student learning & success, and learning & work environments,” said President Bigard. “I am confident that we will have a lot to celebrate when we look back on this academic year.”