This page has expired.

Polk State College History


Since 1964, Polk State College has been supporting the educational needs of Polk County. The college was originally temporarily headquartered in the Bartow Municipal Air Base. The first academic year started with 1107 students and 34 faculty members.

In 1968, with what was then Polk Junior College, the Winter Haven campus was developed on a 100-acre site on the shores of Lake Elbert near downtown. The campus only consisted of four permanent buildings.

The college acquired a 130-acre citrus grove adjacent to Traviss Technical Center in 1978 to serve the growing population in the Lakeland and Bartow area. Ten years later, what was then Polk Community College in conjunction with the University of South Florida, opened the first of eight buildings (LAC) at the Lakeland campus.

In 2006, the modern Lakeland Technology Building (LTB) was opened as the largest building on a Polk State Campus.

Polk State currently has the Airside Center which houses workforce education programs under the Corporate College arm. The College also opened the J.D. Alexander Center in Lake Wales, converting the old Lake Wales City Hall to a modern academic center.

The District Board of Trustees approved a name change at the March 23, 2009 meeting and the college became Polk State College on July 1, 2009. 

In 2011, the College underwent a rebranding, adopting the Eagle as its mascot — chosen based on Polk County’s large eagle population — and a red, black and white color scheme.

In 2014, the Polk State Clear Springs Advanced Technology Center opened off State Road 60 in Bartow. The 45,000-square-foot facility houses high-tech degree programs and the Polk State Corporate College, which provides workforce training.

Also, the Polk State Center for Public Safety is planned for Winter Haven. The facility will house the Polk State Kenneth C. Thompson Institute for Public Safety, as well as other Public Safety training and degree programs.i 

The College’s four-year degrees now also include a Bachelor of Science in Nursing and a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice.

Polk State remains focused on serving our communities by providing affordable, open access to higher educational opportunities. We offer excellent academic programs and outstanding intercollegiate athletics programs, stellar cultural and arts programs, thriving campus life and an impressive array of distinguished alumni. We make a difference in the lives of our students, and they make a difference in their communities and the world.

    | Site Map |
    © Copyright 2011 Polk State College All rights reserved.

    Polk State College is committed to equal access/equal opportunity in its programs, activities, and employment. For additional information, visit polk.edu/Institutional Compliance & Engagement