A seventh location for Okaloosa-Walton College is moving forward as the college's District Board of Trustees approved award of a $2.8 million construction contract to build the OWC South Walton Center. OWC trustees approved a competitive bid by Trammell Construction of Pensacola at the board's March 18 meeting. Construction on the educational center is expected to begin in summer 2008 and is anticipated to be completed in summer 2009.
OWC is developing approximately 16 acres of the nearly 30 acre site located on U.S. 331, just north of U.S. Highway 98. South Walton High School, the South Walton Library and the Walton County Government Center are already located on adjacent parcels. The first phase of construction on the OWC South Walton Center will consist of four buildings all under the same roofing structure with about 11,000 square feet of administrative and classroom space. The OWC South Walton Center will be the college's second facility in Walton County, and one of five centers that are associated with the college's two main campuses in Niceville and Fort Walton Beach.
Construction at the site will also include facilities to house the Choctawhatchee Basin Alliance, an environmental organization operated under the auspices of OWC. The CBA is particularly active in South Walton County with several initiatives including its Dune Lakes work to help preserve the rare coastal dune lakes that dot the region. The new OWC South Walton Center will also provide a home for the college's Allyn C. Donaldson Entrepreneurial Institute, a program of the college made possible through gifts to the OWC Foundation from Donaldson, a long-time Santa Rosa Beach resident and OWC Foundation board member.
In other action, OWC trustees also approved a tentative season of national shows for the college's Mattie Kelly Fine and performing Arts Center. Trustees authorized the college to move forward to finalize contracts for a slate of popular Broadway and Artist Series touring shows and the board is expected to review the final schedule of shows at their May meeting. Dr. Cliff Herron, Executive Director for the Mattie Kelly Arts Center, presented the tentative schedule and indicated that season tickets will go on sale this summer, following approval of the final slate of shows. (EDITOR NOTE: See separate press release on show schedule).
In other action, OWC Trustees also approved:
- Various construction related items including the award of a $391,000 competitive bid to Edwards Roofing to begin replacement of the cedar shake roofs on the Niceville campus with metal roofing; award of a $397,000 contract to Wisco Electric for renovations of the "P" building on the Niceville campus; and award of a $130,373 bid to Warner Mechanical for HVAC improvements on the Niceville campus;
- An endowed scholarship agreement with the Boys and Girls Club of the Emerald Coast, made possible by a $25,000 gift by the organization to the OWC Foundation to create a scholarship for a graduating high school senior who has participated in the Boys and Girls Club;
- The naming of two benches in the circus courtyard of the Mattie Kelly Arts Center in memory of the late Niceville City Councilman Terry Tislow and the late Sidney and Agnes Bangma, both made possible through gifts to the OWC Foundation from the respective families;
- Placing the OWC Surgical Technology program on temporary inactive status following completion of studies of the current class;
- And other items.
The next regular meeting of the OWC District Board of Trustees will be May 12 at 4:00 p.m. in building K on the OWC Niceville Campus.