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FMU moving forward with plans to build $18M forestry & environmental science facility

Francis Marion University (Credit: Francis Marion University)
Francis Marion University (Credit: Francis Marion University)
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Francis Marion University’s Board of Trustees approved the university’s operating budget for Fiscal Year 2022-23 on Thursday, including major expansions in the university’s environmental and health sciences programs, according to a news release.

The legislature last week appropriated $18 million in capital funding for a new forestry research and classroom facility located across Francis Marion Highway from the university’s main campus.

Construction on the Forestry and Environmental Sciences Building is anticipated to begin in 2023.

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The forestry program degree curriculum recently received final approval from the South Carolina Commission on Higher Education (CHE), and classes will be available beginning fall 2023.

This is just the latest expansion in the environmental sciences at FMU. Last spring, the university opened its Freshwater Ecology Complex, and this fall students will be able to enroll in two new environmental study programs: the Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science and Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Studies.

The CHE also recently voted to approve a new Doctor of Occupational Therapy degree through FMU’s School of Health Sciences beginning in 2024. This will be FMU’s second doctorate in health sciences, following a Doctorate in Nursing Practice (DNP) which began in 2018.

“The recent growth of programs in freshwater ecology, environmental sciences, and forestry join other majors that we have developed in the health sciences and engineering over the past fifteen years. They complement our core liberal arts curriculum and other successful programs in the sciences, the arts, the humanities, business, and education,” said Dr. Fred Carter, president of Francis Marion. “FMU has truly become a comprehensive university, and the board realizes the benefit afforded our students from this rich and robust array of courses. We are continuing to meet the educational demands of our students while sensibly addressing the workforce needs of the state and region.”

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The FY2022-23 budget included a three percent pay increase for all university employees, along with a $1,500 bonus. This fall the university will also begin implementing a series of parity and compression raises.

During the meeting, Carter praised Francis Marion’s faculty and staff for their exemplary work.

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“This university excels because our faculty and staff are exceptional. They believe in our students and are committed to providing them the finest education possible.” he said. “I applaud the legislature and our board for recognizing these efforts.”

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