Troy Moon, Pensacola State College
The new state-of-the-art Pensacola State College STEM building will be open and ready for students when fall classes begin on Aug. 17.
The 23,389-square-foot, $15 million facility will be home to programs including mathematics, cybersecurity, computer science and other high-tech fields of study.
“We’re all excited to move over there,” said Robert Pratten, PSC Cybersecurity instructor. “Who wouldn’t be interested in moving into something new? It’s going to give us more space and more room in one centralized location.”
The new STEM facility replaces the 60-year-old Mary Ellison Baars building, which was demolished before construction began on the building in January 2019. The new East Wing building is Phase I of an ambitious project that will eventually include a Phase II West Wing, and a third-floor connector.
The total cost for both wings, and the connector, is $35 million. The eventual west wing building will also be home to high-tech programs, including advanced manufacturing.
A date for Phase II construction has not been set, said Dianne Bracken, PSC Director of Facilities. Ajax Building Corp. is the general contractor for the project, which was designed by Florida Architects.
“Right now, we’re just ready to get into this building,” Bracken said, while walking on the first floor of the east wing, where a few spots of blue tape were on the light walls to mark places where touch-ups are needed before the August move-in. “We think it’s going to be great for students and faculty alike.”
The bottom floor contains math and cybersecurity classrooms and faculty offices and meeting rooms. The cybersecurity area also will feature a secured cybersecurity lab. The second floor will be home to computer science programs and include a student area.
Most of the rooms in the facility have carpet, but LVT (luxury vinyl tiling) still has to go down in the lobby areas. And while the parking lot for the building has been paved, it still needs to be striped. The red clay that surrounds the building currently will soon be landscaped, with various plants to fill the spaces.
The old facility, the Baars Building, was the first facility constructed on the Pensacola campus in 1956. It was named for the matriarch of the Baars family in recognition of their role in making the property available for the College’s Pensacola campus.