In its first open house in more than 20 years, Northwest Florida State College rolled out the welcome mat to the Niceville community in February to inaugurate the $25.5 million Student Services Center.
Ajax had recently completed the facility, designed to be a central hub for the 17,000 students and a centerpiece for community activities.
The three-story, 75,000 square foot facility features an energy-efficient, insulated, impact-resistant glass-wall facade to allow for an abundance of natural light while controlling energy use. For the first time, it offers all the services that a student needs in one location. These include advising, admissions, registration, financial aid, testing, veteran’s affairs, adult and continuing education and food services.
The new Leadership Institute is located on the third floor, and features several conference rooms and a large meeting space with an outside balcony overlooking the campus.
Next up for the Ajax team is the second phase of the project, which includes renovation of the 1970’s era 32,000 square-foot College Mall. It will expand the school’s bookstore, Career Resources Center and add new classroom and meeting space for student and college organizations. Covered walks and a landscaped courtyard will connect the two facilities when the project is complete later this year.
“This is not just a building, but a welcoming gathering place for student life and the community,” commented Ajax President Bill Byrne. “It is gratifying to see that students already are enjoying their new central hub and all that it has to offer. As we work to complete the final phase, the construction project continues to have a positive economic impact on the area by generating hundreds of jobs in the trades industry.”
Sam Marshall Architects designed the structure to meet or exceed State of Florida and National Energy Standards promising to increase energy savings, water efficiency and reduce CO2 emissions.