The Grand Opening of the Community Services Complex on the Niceville Campus of Northwest Florida State College was marked with a variety of festivities on January 5 including an opening ceremony, a public open house, conference basketball games, and announcement of the naming of a wing in the classroom portion of the facility after Medal of Honor recipient Col. Bud Day.
Sandy Sims, chair of the college’s governing Board of Trustees, noted that the name of the complex, “Really says it all . . . this is a shared use facility that’s for the community – both the college community and citizens throughout the region who will benefit from what this facility has to offer.”
The 120,000 square foot facility houses Okaloosa County's year-round 911 Call Center and Emergency Operations Center, a 2,200 seat arena, a college wellness/fitness center, facilities for the college’s ROTC program and other instructional spaces. The entire complex is hardened to withstand 190-mile-per-hour winds and is designed for dual-duty, with the arena slated to serve as a public emergency/hurricane shelter, and the classroom building designed to for use by emergency officials if needed.
As a central part of the opening ceremony, the college recognized the naming of the “Col. George E. ‘Bud’ Day Wing” in the classroom building of the complex, which houses the college’s ROTC program. Day and his wife, Doris, attended the ceremony and were honored with a standing ovation by a crowd of more than 300 attendees.
The naming of the classroom wing for Day recognized a scholarship campaign which raised more than $94,000 from 1,211 individuals to create a permanent scholarship endowment in Col. Day’s name for the college’s ROTC military science program. The vision for the creation of scholarships in Bud Day’s honor, as a way to help build future generations of leaders, was the brainchild of the late Col. Robert Reinlie, US Air Force retired. Reinlie’s widow, Marilynn, and son Dick were recognized at the opening ceremonies as well.
“Certainly there is no finer model for our ROTC cadets to emulate than Col. Bud Day . . . to date more than 30 students have been awarded full or partial scholarships from the earnings of the endowment and students for years to come will benefit from this scholarship fund,” noted NWF State College vice president Dr. David Goetsch.
“It is fitting that retired veterans from across the nation chose to establish ROTC scholarships and to make possible the naming of a portion of this community facility in Col. Day’s honor,” said Goetsch, who noted that the college has a tradition of naming certain facilities or portions of facilities to recognize special gifts to the college which help underwrite programs or scholarships.
At the opening ceremony for the Community Services Complex, college president Dr. Ty Handy recognized college trustee Brian Pennington, Chair of the Facilities and Programs Committee, as well as Sam Marshall Architects of Pensacola and Speegle Construction of Niceville for their work to plan, design and construct the facility. He noted that more than 50 expert subcontractors worked on the $30.1 million facility, employing nearly 325 persons during the two-year construction process. Handy also recognized the vision of prior college leadership and staff who “left their mark on this campus …. and the great body of work that has been accomplished here since 1963.”
In the NWF State College portion of facility the new 74,500 square foot Raider Arena dominates and is adjacent to a 20,100 square foot classroom building. The college's Raiders athletic teams are some of the finest in the nation, with the men’s team currently the defending state champs. The Arena features 1,000 sq. ft. of varsity locker rooms for both Raider women's and men's basketball teams, a state-of- the-art parquet floor, spacious fixed seating surrounding the entire Arena, a 4-sided scoreboard above center court, and more. The first home games in The Arena were played following the opening ceremony and a public open house.
The college’s classroom building at the Community Services Complex houses a new 3,600 sq. ft. fitness center for college wellness and fitness courses, classrooms, fitness locker rooms, and facilities for the college’s Reserve Officers Training Corps (ROTC) program. This portion of the facility is directly adjacent to and accessible from the new Okaloosa County Emergency operations center and is designed to serve dual-duty to provide resting and relief space for emergency operations officials during activation of the center during events such as hurricanes. The classroom building also features a 2,900 square foot Raider Room, for the college's athletics booster program, which includes a kitchen that can also serve dual purposes during emergency events.
Wellness and fitness classes offered in the new 3,600 sq. ft Wellness Center are open for those desiring college credit (Wellness: 3 credit hours, Fitness: 1 credit hour) or for audit status (non-credit). The new facility contains 6 treadmills, 5 elliptical, 2 bikes, 1 recumbent bike, 1 step machine, 1 summit trainer, a full body circuit of selectorized weight machines, and a full complement free weights.
The Okaloosa County portion of Community Services Complex is 25,400 square feet and includes Public Safety Administration Offices, the county’s 911 Dispatch Center (in operation 24/7), the Emergency Operations Center, and more. The facility features a system of geothermal wells which provide for a portion of the facility's heating and cooling, emergency generators, redundant water supply and sewage disposal systems, a crank up antenna, a roof top antenna farm, a state-of-the-art audio /visual system in the EOC, road lighting with LED technology and more.
ATTACHMENTS: PHOTO in ARENA: Sandy Sims (front, center right), chair of the Northwest Florida State College Board of Trustees and James Campbell (front, center left), chair of the Okaloosa County Commission, cut the ribbon opening the Community Services Complex. They are joined by Paul Foster and Col. Bud Day (front) along with (Back, left to right), David Goetsch, Doris Day, Dick Reinlie, Marilynn Reinlie, Ty Handy, Alexis Tibbetts, Rachel Gillis, Lt. Col. Edward Boegle, Dino Villani, Maj. Steve Duckworth, Jim Curry, Helen Hunt Rigdon, Troy Speegle, Brian Pennington, David Alsop, and Esteena Wells.
COL. BUD DAY NAMING PHOTO: Col. Bud Day and wife Doris (center) are joined by (left) Sandy Sims, NWFSC Board of Trustees Chair, and Marilynn Reinlie, along with Lt. Col. Edward Boegle, Commander of the UWF-NWFSC ROTC Battalion, and Major Steve Duckworth, and college president Dr. Ty Handy at the naming of the “Colonel George E. ‘Bud’ Day Wing” of the Community Services Complex.
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