The University of North Florida received a $380,000 forgivable loan from the Downtown Investment Authority on Wednesday to help with the expansion of its business program to downtown Jacksonville.
The program will be located on the fourth and fifth floors of the Barnett Bank building. The closed Jacksonville landmark is undergoing extensive renovations. At last report the building’s rehabilitation was expected to cost about $34 million.
Also going in will be a new Center of Entrepreneurship that received a $1 million private donation. The fifth floor will be for the classroom spaces and hold state-of-the-art equipment to help facilitate learning in the building and online, according to Mark Dawkins, UNF’s Dean of the Coggin College of Business.
The university will have to meet a student quota requirement to avoid having to pay the loan back during the five year period.
“The goal is 24 students the first semester, which will be January 2019, and 48 students the second semester and then the third and future semesters will be 72 students,” Dawkins said.
Funding from the loan is being primarily use to buy equipment and furniture for the space.
The business school will use the space in the evening while UNF’s Division of Continuing Education will have access during the day for training and developmental days, according to Dawkins.
The Center of Entrepreneurship is seen as an asset for the downtown community and those involved in addition to the academic programs, according to Dawkins.
“It’s for the city of Jacksonville. So we will expect it to be student participation, students during internships but also want to engage the entrepreneurship community and for anyone who has an idea about a potential business,” Dawkins said. “We would hope that they would take advantage of the Center of Entrepreneurship and the support that is provided through the Center of Entrepreneurship.”
The university will be providing additional funding for the downtown location through fundraising.
“We want to create viable businesses to support the city of Jacksonville and build employment in the city of Jacksonville,” Dawkins said.
Classes are scheduled to start January 2019
Joslyn Simmons can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, 904-358-6316