On the morning of Aug. 21, the Florida Keys Community College solidified its pledge to bring a campus to the Upper Keys by purchasing commercial property at MM 106 in Key Largo.
The old Shell World, owned and operated by Jim and Cyrie Waterman, will soon be razed to make way for a new 30,000-square foot campus designed to accommodate an expanding learning institution.
FKCC Board of Trustees chair Stephanie Scuderi said the college hopes to break ground on the new facility in about a year.
“The whole time I have been on the board we have been looking for a piece of property,” said Scuderi. “This will allow us to give some educational opportunities that will benefit Ocean Reef, Homestead, South Dade and of course the Middle and Upper Keys.”
College president Dr. Jonathan Gueverra inked the deal with the Watermans on Tuesday morning — with a $500,000 philanthropic discount.
“They had other options on the table,” Gueverra said about the Watermans. “They have been nothing but gracious and very philanthropic in this process.”
The new facility is expected to cost about $20 million. Gueverra said the college has already saved about 20 percent to 25 percent of the cost and expects the state’s Public Education Capital Outlay (PECO) budget to contribute another $5 million, with the balance coming from the federal government and philanthropic efforts.
“We are really excited about this,” he said. “It has really been a long time coming for this community.”
The new facility will enable the college to expand its offerings including nursing, construction management, the new building trades apprenticeship program, and criminal justice.