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OWC Trustees Award Bid for $8.9 Million Science Building, Welcome New Trustee to Governing Board


The Okaloosa-Walton College District Board of Trustees awarded an $8,911,000 ($8.9 million) construction contract for a new Science Technology building on the Niceville campus to A.E. New, Jr., Inc., of Pensacola at the board's July 16 meeting. The college trustees will hold a groundbreaking ceremony on August 17 for the 45,000 square foot building that will house all the college's biological, natural, and physical science programs. Construction is slated to begin August 25 and the facility is anticipated to be completed in two years.

Trustees also welcomed Vercell Vance, CEO of Alpha Data Corporation in Fort Walton Beach, a leading-edge high technology firm, to the district board. Governor Jeb Bush appointed Vance to complete the term of service of William "Bill" Thornton who served as a trustee from June 1997 to June 2004; including service as board chairman. Thornton resigned from the board due to a career move to another state. The OWC trustees unanimously passed a resolution recognizing Thorntons distinguished service on the board.

In other action, trustees approved the completion of a remodeling project which created a Health Technology complex for the college's nursing, dental assisting and surgical technology programs. Students will begin to use the new facilities in August which includes everything from a complete dental suite to a sterile mock-operating room, and instructional space for various medical courses.

The college's governing board also approved a capital improvement plan for proposed capital construction projects at OWC during the next five years. Included in the plan were the first building to be located at the college's South Walton Center, construction of a new classroom building at the OWC/University of West Florida joint campus in Fort Walton Beach and renovation of the current science building to accommodate general classes. The plan will be forwarded to Tallahassee for consideration of appropriate state funding.

In other action, trustees approved an extension of the contract with college president Dr. Bob Richburg and the colleges organizational structure for 2004-05. Included was a change in title and responsibilities for several college administrators including naming of:

  • Dr. David Goetsch as vice president, with oversight of the OWC/UWF Fort Walton Beach Campus and all OWC college centers including college instructional centers in Crestview, Eglin AFB, Hurlburt Field, DeFuniak Springs and the new South Walton location,

  • Donna Utley as Associate Vice President for Business Services;

  • Natalie E. Williams as Associate Dean of Professional & Technical programs including oversight of the new Bachelor of Applied Science degree program.

As the governing board for the OWC Collegiate High School, trustees also approved various items related to the charter school including a code of conduct, guidelines for cell phone usage, and a transportation agreement. Trustees commended the school on receiving the second highest "A" grade in Florida among all state high schools and the highest score in the local district.

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