Gulf Coast State College Opens STEM Building

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PANAMA CITY, Florida (WMBB) — Gulf Coast State College officials kicked off a new academic era for prospective students on Thursday. They opened the new $25 million STEM building. This day took 10 years to prepare.

Until this year, science students at Gulf Coast State College attended classes in a building built in the 1950s. The natural science classrooms and labs were old and outdated.

College officials proposed a new STEM facility in 2012, but it has taken the past 10 years to secure funding from the legislature. On Thursday, the STEM building went from a proposal to reality.

It took a lot of planning to come up with this revolution. There have been dozens of meetings between the architect and the people who will be using the facility.

“The faculty have come together,” said Flax-Hyman, acting chair of the GCSC. “They had many discussions about what they needed, what students will need in the future and how we are adjusting to that. What are careers in STEM. How to ensure collaboration with learning communities. We are not just building a building for today. We are building one that we hope will lead us into the future.

The 40,000 square foot building will have three stories, concrete formwork and exterior walls designed to withstand disasters.

“The forms that we used and the concrete and the steel and the manufacturing process with steel and everything, it’s designed and tested,” said Tim Evans, superintendent of Burke Construction Group. “A lot of research has been done to make it hurricane resistant.”

The new addition will provide students and staff with ample office space, classrooms and 10 state-of-the-art science labs.

“Primarily science labs that will house everything from microbiology, biology, chemistry and physics,” Florida Architects President Joseph Sorce said. Thus, all sciences will be supported.

Construction should begin around the first of the year. The facility is expected to be ready for students by spring 2024.

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