New EOC, Arena & South Walton Center Construction Begins


The governing board of Northwest Florida State College recently received updates from the architects in charge of construction for the Community Services Complex on the Niceville campus, the college's new South Walton Center and the campus master-plan. The NWF State College Board of Trustees also took action related to various construction projects and other matters at the board's September 16 meeting.

A 120,000 square foot joint use facility, the Community Services Complex will house a new Okaloosa County 911 Emergency Operations Center, a 2,400 seat college basketball arena, a new wellness center, ROTC facilities and other instructional spaces. Massive concrete footers for the foundation of the building are currently being poured and a system of 236 geothermal wells is being drilled for installation of an energy efficient heating and cooling system. Sitting on a 28 acre portion of the 265 acre Niceville campus, the facility will be hardened to withstand 190-mile-per-hour winds so that it can also be used as the county's primary hurricane shelter.

David Alsop with Sam Marshall Architects of Pensacola presented the update on the Community Services Complex to trustees and noted that the project, constructed by Speegle Construction, Inc. of Niceville, is on track for anticipated completion by July 2010. Alsop also briefed trustees on adjustments to the main campus entrances and roadways as part of the Niceville campus master plan. The main campus entrance will be aligned with the traffic light at Palm Boulevard and the campus loop road will be altered to improve traffic flow. Alsop noted that completion of a new western portion of the loop road has been moved up in the construction timeline and is now slated for completion in January 2009.

Charlie Clary from DAG Architects in Destin presented an update to trustees on construction of the college's seventh location in South Walton County. Site work is nearing completion and foundation footers are slated to be poured by the end of September. The center is located on a nearly 30 acre site on U.S. 331, just north of U.S. Highway 98. The first phase of construction, now underway by Trammell Construction of Pensacola, consists of four buildings all under the same roofing structure with about 11,000 square feet of administrative and classroom space. The 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. It is expected to be completed in summer 2009.

In other action, NWF State College Trustees voted to approve:

- Name changes for the college's foundation and Collegiate High School to coincide with the new name of the college; Northwest Florida State College Foundation, Inc., and the Collegiate High School at Northwest Florida State College;

- The establishment of a Margaret M. Doering Adult Education Scholarship through a gift of $15,000 by Barbara Jones, director of the college's Chautauqua Center in DeFuniak Springs, and her brother, Thomas R. Doering, in memory of their mother who passed away recently;

- A new official seal for use on formal college documents such as diplomas;

- A vehicle maintenance and repair agreement with the Okaloosa County School Board for school buses owned by the college for use transporting Collegiate High School students;

- A request to the state for matching funds of $968,565 to match private contributions to the college; and various other items related to remodeling, construction and projects of the college. The next Board of Trustees meeting is scheduled for November 18 at 6:30 pm in the community gallery of the College Mall, building K, on the Niceville Campus.

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