President Johnson & Eglin Land for OWJC

Portions written by Emma Goggin, Reporter,
Northwest Florida Daily News for the
OWC 25th anniversary commemorative booklet.

Months of negotiations were climaxed in a simple ceremony on January 11, 1966, when officials of the U.S. Corps of Engineers handed over the deed for 263 acres of land, originally part of the Eglin Air Force Base reservation, for the permanent campus of Okaloosa-Walton Junior College. Receiving the deed were Okaloosa County Superintendent of Public Instruction, Max Bruner, Jr. and OWJC President, Dr. J. E. McCracken.

Earlier, on September 11, 1965, President Lyndon Johnson signed public law 89-180 (HR-4905, Senate 23461) which established a permanent site for the college on former U.S. government land. The pen used by the president is now part of the college's permanent historical archives. The late congressman Robert L.F. "Bob" Sikes was instrumental in helping the college obtain the federal land.

The way was now clear for work to begin on the preliminaries of constructing a campus on the site. The first phase of construction was completed with the close of 1968 on nearly 130 of the 263-acre campus. This phase consisted of seven buildings: the learning resources center (library), science building, data processing and business education building, administration building, physical education building and a utilities building.

The new seven-building complex opened its doors for classes on the morning of January 13, 1969.

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