This is one of the high-tech classrooms at Jacksonville University's renovated STEAM facility.This is one of the high-tech classrooms at Jacksonville University's renovated STEAM facility.
This is one of the high-tech classrooms at Jacksonville University's renovated STEAM facility. | Jacksonville University

JU opens renovated tech and arts institute

Published on August 24, 2023 at 3:09 pm

Jacksonville University has opened its renovated 30,000-square-foot interdisciplinary science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics studies facility — also known as STEAM.

University officials cut the ribbon Thursday on the stand-alone STEAM Institute for disciplines that include training in animation, computing sciences, cybersecurity, data science, engineering, film, fintech, game design, geographic information systems, robotics, sustainability and visual design.

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Opened at its Arlington campus, the updated facility embodies Jacksonville University’s commitment to applied learning, University President Tim Cost said.

“Students in the STEAM Institute learn by doing, working in teams to design, create and innovate,” Cost said in a news release. “That kind of learning sets them apart from students at other institutions that are confined to textbooks.” 

The STEAM Institute is housed in what was once the university’s Lazzara Health Sciences building. When the school completed its Health Sciences Complex in 2020, those programs moved out of Lazzara, freeing up this space to become a temporary graphic design space, JU officials said.

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Renovations began in 2022 to transform it into the STEAM Institute, at a cost of about $3 million to create the stand-alone facility and its interdisciplinary programs.

Drones are part of a curriculum at the new STEAM center. | Jacksonville University

The new facility offers a new undergraduate major and a master’s of business administration concentration in FinTech, or financial technology, which launched in fall 2022. The interdisciplinary program offers students courses at the intersection of finance, computer science, business analytics, and data science so they can seek employment in Northeast Florida’s burgeoning FinTech services, JU officials said.

Other programs include the STEAM Institute’s CyberRange facility, with technology that lets students learn hands-on cybersecurity skills and participate in simulated cyberattacks. A 2,200-square-foot Film and Media Studio offers programs in animation, communication, dance, engineering, design and theater. And an Animation, Design, and Illustration Studio teaches motion graphics, data visualization, game design, 3D modeling, virtual reality, medical imaging and 3D printing.

There is a Robotics Design space and an Immersive Learning Studio to develop immersive simulation technology for creation of original virtual reality content for both educational and entertainment applications.

Bill Hill, professor media arts, was named executive director of the STEAM Institute this summer.

For more information on JU’s STEAM program, go to ju.edu/steam.


author image Reporter, WJCT News 89.9 Dan Scanlan is a veteran journalist with almost 40 years of experience in radio, television, and print reporting. He has worked at various stations in the Northeast and Jacksonville. Prior to joining the WJCT News team, Dan spent 34 years at The Florida Times-Union as a police and current affairs reporter.
author image Reporter, WJCT News 89.9 Dan Scanlan is a veteran journalist with almost 40 years of experience in radio, television, and print reporting. He has worked at various stations in the Northeast and Jacksonville. Prior to joining the WJCT News team, Dan spent 34 years at The Florida Times-Union as a police and current affairs reporter.

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