GCSC Stem Facility On Hold

The building that currently passes as Gulf Coast State College's stem facility is 55 years old.

And, frankly, it's ugly.

But college president Jim Kerley said looks aren't the only problem.

"People that have gone through those labs 25 years ago said they were problems then and now 25 years later we still have a problem," Dr. Jim Kerley, GCSC president, said. "They have some safety issues. It has some ADA accessibility issues I don't think that we have good storage for like chemicals. We've had some flooding issues around the building."

For the last five years, college officials have been planning to build a new stem facility.

"Even the state has come in and inspected it and said, 'the best thing you guys could do is level this building and build a brand new building,'" Dr. Kerley said.

Last year the Florida House and Senate approved $14 million to go toward new structure.

But Florida Tax Watch called it a tax turkey and Gov. Rick Scott vetoed the money.

So the college's Board of Trustees is hoping to improve their chances this year by shooting for less.

The original four-story building is out.

"Re-designed it and down-scaled it to two-stories," Dr. Kerley said.

That drops the price from $35 million to around $22 million.

Dr. Kerley maybe disappointed with the scaled down design but he said it's something the college can work with.

"If we get five to seven to eight million dollars we'd be happy with that. And some day if we build a two story we can build a third floor, fourth floor to it," Dr. Kerley said.

President Kerley says if the board of trustees decides to move forward with the four story stem building plans, the college will need some private finding.