aerial photo of florida southern college

Emergency Preparedness

Campus Update

A Message from Dr. Kerr

The true character of people and communities is most clearly revealed in times of difficulty, when the storms of life, both literal and figurative, strike. What Irma has shown is that Florida Southern College is truly blessed to have a community of unparalleled compassion and commitment.
The incredible dedication and hard work from staff and faculty to ready the campus for students’ return, even while caring for their own families and dealing with their own storm damage and power outages, was heroic. Their sacrifice and long hours of work under uncertain conditions have achieved an amazing recovery. In the history of Florida Southern, there have been other disasters from which the College emerged stronger. This one will long be remembered for how an entire College community came together to restore the world-renowned campus so that we can continue to pursue our mission of preparing students to make a positive and consequential impact in the world.
We are very much looking forward to having students back on campus.
I would ask that when you see a staff member or professor, please join me in thanking them again for their monumental efforts. Florida Southern College remains “on the move” and ready to welcome students back home thanks to our incredible FSC family.

Anne Kerr

Thursday, September 14

We are pleased to share with you that as of this morning we now have power in almost all buildings across campus. What wonderful news! We are still waiting for power to come on in Colony Arms Apartments, Roberts Academy, and a few FSC houses surrounding the campus. We will continue to communicate updates as they become available and will accommodate any student who lives in one of these locations if power is still not restored when they return to campus.

  • Classes will begin on Monday, September 18, with students arriving back on campus Sunday, September 17.
  • We are still working diligently to restore all internet and email capabilities.
  • For an update on the athletic events schedule, please visit for more information.
  • For information regarding the status of other campus events, please visit our website at
  • FSC WELCOME BACK TO CAMPUS EVENTS! As we look forward to students’ returning to campus, we are hosting a number of welcome-back celebrations, including a Chick-fil-A Night, Food Truck Rally on Thursday, and more.
These past few days have been challenging, and we would not have made it through without the support of our staff, faculty, students, and food service teams who all came together to clean up our campus this week. This is truly a world-class campus community.

We also thank the many local contractors and business owners who helped support the College during the week. Special thanks go out to the following individuals and their employees:  Jodie Rodda, Ed Holly, and  Gordon Moore from Rodda Construction;  Kevin Roggen and Roggen Enterprises (heavy equipment); George Conner of Florida Commercial Landscape (grounds and irrigation systems); Mike Labarbere  from Action Irrigation and Sod); Todd Kootney of Q&Q, Inc. (electrical and air conditioning); David Touchton of ServPro; and the City of Lakeland. 

Wednesday, September 13

We are working hard to prepare the campus for the return of our students and opening of classes, which is scheduled for Monday, September 18.  Polk County was hit particularly hard by Hurricane Irma, and the campus is not yet fully operational.  Lakeland Electric reports that it will be days, if not weeks, before full electrical power is restored and downed trees are removed.  There is a mandatory midnight to 5:00 a.m. curfew for the entire county until further notice. 
The extensive damage from the hurricane is unprecedented for our region, and our campus safety and maintenance team are working diligently to ensure the safety of the campus.
We ask that students not return to campus until Sunday, except those who have confirmed travel arrangements already in place.
Here is an update on the status of the FSC campus:
  • Significant water intrusion occurred in a number of academic buildings. Due to peak demand throughout the region with emergency clean-up companies such as ServePro, it may take up to ten days to return all buildings to fully operational status.
  • The buildings with the most damage include Polk Science, the Spivey Humanities Building, and the Simmons Multi-Cultural Center.
  • A major water main that services the campus has structural damage that will take up to a week to repair.
  • Some units at Lake Morton Apartments and the Garden Apartments have electricity, but not all. There is no power at Lake Hollingsworth Apartments and the Colony Arms Apartments.
  • 55 trees are down on campus, and removal is in process.
  • Buildings with broken windows are being repaired.
  • The campus Internet and website are not fully functional and are still being serviced by our off-campus emergency backup system.  We do not yet know when full access will be available for the campus.
  • The Athletic competition schedule will be available tomorrow.
We thank you for your continued patience and understanding as we work diligently to prepare the campus for the return of our students.  We will continue to provide daily updates on our progress.

The LSAT will be given at Florida Southern College on Saturday, September 16.

Tuesday, September 12

The College is still cleaning up and assessing the campus. We still do not have power in many parts of campus. We are working hard to prepare the campus for our students’ return for classes on Monday, September 18.  Students who will be driving back to campus should plan on arriving Sunday, September 17. Students who have confirmed travel arrangements will be accommodated in Branscomb Auditorium until our power is restored. 

Note: Airport shuttles to TPA and MCO will be available to students who need it. Students will need to complete the following form to reserve a shuttle time. .


Monday, September 11

The FSC campus is still without electricity, and we are currently waiting to hear from Lakeland Electric as to when campus power will be restored. We will communicate by noon tomorrow regarding the status of campus electricity and when the residence halls will reopen.

Weather Update


Sunday, September 10

As we monitor the northward path of Hurricane Irma, our campus is prepared and our students who have remained on campus are all together with members of our staff and food service team in our emergency shelter. We will post updates as we can.  Our prayers are with everyone who is in the pathway of Hurricane Irma.

Friday, September 8

Florida Southern's campus will be closing its normal business operations at noon on Friday, September 8th and will remain closed through Monday, September 11th.

Tuesday, September 5

Florida Southern’s Emergency Management Team is continuing to monitor Hurricane Irma. Due to the unpredictability of the storm and to make all necessary preparations to ensure the safety of FSC students, we have made the decision to cancel classes and close campus housing. All students must leave the campus by 5:00p.m. on Thursday, September 7th.

Important Information:

  • Classes will be held on Wednesday, September 6th, including all night classes.
  • All college housing, including apartments, will be closed. Students will need to leave College housing no later than Thursday, September 7th at 5:00 p.m.
  • Students with extenuating circumstances who cannot find alternative housing arrangements should contact Dean Bill Langston to discuss their situation, by 2:00 p.m. on Wednesday. Dean Langston can be reached at or at 863-680-3967.
  • Classes will resume on Thursday, September 14th.
  • If you have questions and would like to speak with someone on campus, please reach out to Associate Dean, Shari Szabo (863-680-4900 or

Helpful Resources:
If you have questions, updates will be available on our emergency hotline (863-680-4101) or visit our website for continued updates.

Monday, September 4
Florida Southern College is closely monitoring Hurricane Irma. We will provide updates as the storm system continues its westerly movement across the Atlantic.

Additional Information:
The September 9th administration of the ACT, scheduled to be given at Florida Southern College, has been canceled. The rescheduled test date will be posted at as soon as it is set. Registered examinees will receive official notification from ACT.

The Frank Lloyd Wright Visitors Center will close on Friday at noon.

FSC Staff :
Hurricane Irma continues to head toward Florida in an unpredictable path.  To ensure our employees have time to prepare their homes and make plans with family members, the College is closing its normal business operations at noon on Friday and will remain closed through Monday. 

Up to date as of:
9/15/2017 6:04:51 PM

Other Helpful Resources

Additionally, information about FSC cancellations, closings, and openings are broadcast on TV channels WFLA 8, Bay News 9, WTSP 10, and WTVT 13; and radio stations WPCV 97.5 FM, WWRZ 98.3 FM, WONN 1230 AM, and WLKF 1430 AM.

Tropical Storms

During Florida’s Hurricane Season, June 1-November 30, Florida Southern’s Emergency Management Team will carefully monitor tropical storms which could effect Polk County.

Emergency Action Plan


If there is any significant change that impacts normal College operations and activities, the community will be alerted via the Web site and the text message system. The community may also call the emergency hotline at 863.680.4101 for updates.

Parents: If you wish to opt-in to the campus emergency text message system, please fill out the request form.

Be Prepared

Students and parents are encouraged to formulate a communication plan for use during an emergency. This plan should include a course of action to be taken should telephone and/or electronic service be disrupted.

For your convenience, here are some links that provide safety tips and storm tracking before, during and after a hurricane:

Other Helpful Resources

Additionally, information about FSC cancellations, closings, and openings are broadcast on TV channels WFLA 8, Bay News 9, WTSP 10, and WTVT 13; and radio stations WPCV 97.5 FM, WWRZ 98.3 FM, WONN 1230 AM, and WLKF 1430 AM.