Triumph Gulf Coast gives final approval to FSU project to build manufacturing, aerospace facilities in Northwest Florida

Vice President for Research Stacey Patterson speaks at the Triumph Gulf Coast meeting in Apalachicola on April 10, 2024. Photo by Matthew McConnell/Florida State University

Triumph Gulf Coast Wednesday gave the final sign-off on a project that will give Florida State University $98.4 million to build advanced manufacturing and aerospace facilities in Bay County.

The Triumph Gulf Coast (TGC) board voted in November to support the project, which allowed the university and TGC to negotiate the terms and settle the final budget details. TGC gave full approval to FSU’s proposed budget at its April 10 meeting.

Triumph will provide $98.4 million, and the university will invest another $65 million over the next 10 years to build the Institute for Strategic Partnerships, Innovation, Research and Education. The university has also committed to securing more than $235 million in grant funding.

Initial economic projections suggest that for every $1 spent on the project, $10 in economic activity will be generated.  

A delegation from FSU, including Provost Jim Clark and Vice President for Research Stacey S. Patterson, attended the meeting to thank the Triumph Gulf Coast board for its support while also conveying their excitement for the project.

“INSPIRE or the Innovation for Strategic Partnerships for Innovation, Research and Education is truly a transformational concept,” Patterson said. “We think it provides the foundation for FSU to better serve the needs required to fuel this innovation economy and will serve as a beacon to attract others to the region. The impact will be felt for decades to come.”

INSPIRE will include operations within or near the Northwest Florida Beaches Airport and adjacent Venture Crossings Technology Park. The facilities constructed as part of the institute will be designed to accommodate both secure and open contract and grant work for the aerospace and defense industries.

The project includes not only applied research facilities but also funds to grow the number of engineering graduates in Panama City. In addition, funds will be dedicated to STEM outreach activities in the eight-county area served by Triumph.

Triumph Gulf Coast Inc. is a nonprofit corporation that oversees the majority of the funds recovered by the Florida attorney general for economic damages to the state from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Triumph is required to administer the funds to projects in the eight counties that were disproportionately affected by the oil spill — Escambia, Santa Rosa, Okaloosa, Walton, Bay, Gulf, Franklin and Wakulla.