BAY COUNTY, Fla. (WMBB) — The Florida State Legislature recently announced $2.8 million would go toward the planning phase of the Florida State University Health and Research Center.

Health care is a big part of attracting new businesses and new people to an area. The Panhandle continues to grow at a rapid pace and FSU recognizes that.

FSU President, Richard McCullough, said they want to perform cutting edge, innovative research while also providing people in the Panhandle with better access to health care.

“The clinical research that you might do helps add to cutting edge research,” McCullough said. “You know if you’re doing health-data science, radiation therapy and patient populations, you learn about through data analysis better ways to treat patients.”

McCullough also anticipates the facility will bring an economic boost along with it.

“These sort of research facilities serve to fuel innovation, they fuel partnerships with major companies, they help for company attraction even the creation of startup companies and all these things create jobs, and they add to health care,” McCullough said.

The State Legislature announced additional funding for several Panhandle projects in September. McCullough said the $2.8 million awarded to the center will go toward the planning phase of the project.

“This planning grant really helps us start thinking about what the facility is going to look like, probably help us get some of the projects off the ground but will certainly help us in the planning and could be used for all kinds of opportunities to do the development,” McCullough said.

Florida State is partnering with Tallahassee Memorial Health and the St. Joe Company to bring this state-of-the-art facility to our area.

Officials estimate the entire campus including the hospital will be finished by 2027.