It was a day of celebration as the ceremonial ribbon was cut Oct. 30 on Pensacola State College’s new Bear Jones Moore Reeves Center for Math and Advanced Technology.
“This is a great day for Pensacola State College, our students, our supporters, and Escambia and Santa Rosa counties,” said PSC President Ed Meadows.
“The Bear Jones Moore Reeves Center for Math and Advanced Technology will provide state-of-the-art instructional space for our math department and enable us to expand our advanced technology and cybersecurity programs. Our cybersecurity programs are among our most rapidly growing degree programs.”
The first classes will be held in the new 59,080-square-foot facility in January.
Construction on the $22.5 million facility started in June 2022. The building is Phase II of the College’s STEM complex. Phase I – the Baars Technology Building – opened in 2021.
The center’s name pays homage to the Bear Family Foundation, the late Bill and Jo Jones, the Pete Moore Family and James “Jim” Reeves. The group collectively donated $1 million to the College to fund STEM-related scholarships.
Belle Bear, representing the Bear Family Foundation, said her husband, the late Lewis Bear, would be happy to see the facility open and proud to help provide student scholarships.
“Students who wish to study math and advanced technology have the opportunity to do so regardless of their financial position,” she said. “That’s the best part. This will provide more people moving into the local workforce ─ what a blessing to our community.”
The Bear Jones Moore Reeves Center has eight classrooms/lecture halls, four computer labs, one emerging technologies lab, one prototyping area, 19 faculty offices, and a department head suite complete with individual offices for the department head and assistant department head.
A 2,735-square-foot rooftop venue is also part of the center, along with a third-floor connector linking the Phase I and Phase II buildings.
Several Northwest Florida dignitaries were on hand for the ribbon cutting, including Hal George, who represented State Sen. Doug Broxson; David Bear, chairman of the Triumph Gulf Coast board of directors; Pensacola Mayor D.C. Reeves; and Escambia County Commissioners Robert Bender, Jeff Bergosh and Mike Kohler.
Dr. Troy Tippett, PSC Board of Trustees chairman, and several other board members were on hand for the event. Representing the scholarship donors were Bear family members; the late Pete Moore’s widow, Angela Moore, and daughter, Jacqueline Moore Pommerening; (Jim) Reeves; and Kay Margedant and Jay Margedant, the sister and nephew of the late Bill Jones. The highlighted semicolon is currently a colon on the website.
Along with $18.9 million in state funding, a $11,998,919 Triumph Gulf Coast grant was used to fund the construction of the Bear Jones Moore Reeves Center for Math and Advanced Technology. Triumph Gulf Coast is the organization charged by the state of Florida with distributing the $1.5 billion settlement from BP stemming from the 2010 oil spill.
Meadows praised the state and local legislative delegation and Triumph Gulf Coast for appropriating funds for the facility.
“We are so very fortunate to have a legislative delegation that placed this facility as one of their highest priorities. PSC has been blessed with tremendous support from Triumph Gulf Coast and many other sources. I cannot help but believe it is because of the job our faculty and staff do for our students,” Meadows said.
Triumph Gulf Coast funds were also used for student scholarships, student fee waivers and certificates, salaries for cybersecurity/IT programs, recruiting, technology, and other equipment and supplies.
“We had been attempting for nearly 10 years to fully replace an antiquated building that served us well in the past,” Meadows added. “These funds allowed us to not only complete construction but to grow, accelerate, and expand our existing IT and cybersecurity programs and support our mathematics program. This is truly a huge shot in the arm for PSC and the community.”
Florida Architects designed the Phase I and Phase II buildings. Ajax Corp was the Phase I general contractor. The Morette Company is the Phase II general contractor.