Officials Moving Forward with GCSC STEM Building Plans

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Gulf Coast State College officials are again lobbying the state legislature for the funding to build a new STEM facility.

The building that currently passes as the college's STEM facility is 55 years old.

Some say think the building is aesthetically unappealing, but college president Dr. Jim Kerley says looks aren't the only problem.

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

For the last 5 years, college officials have been planning to build a new STEM facility.

Last year, the Florida House and Senate approved $14 million to go toward a new structure, but Florida Tax Watch called it a Tax Turkey and Governor Rick Scott vetoed the money.

The college's board of trustees are hoping to improve their chances this year, by shooting for less.

The original 4 story building is out. The facility has been down-scaled to 2 stories.

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

Dr. Kerley maybe disappointed with the smaller design, but says it's something the college can work with.

He said, "If we get $5, $6, or $7 million we'd be happy with that. Some day if we build a second story we can build a third floor and fourth floor to it."