Pensacola State College’s largest building, the Bear Jones Moore Reeves Center for Math and Advanced Technology, made its debut Monday with a ribbon cutting ceremony, months before the first students take classes in the 59,080-square-foot facility in January.
“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,” said PSC President Ed Meadows. “Our cybersecurity programs are among our most rapidly growing degree programs.”
Construction on the $22.5 million facility began in June 2022. The building is Phase II of the College’s STEM complex. Phase I, the Baars Technology Building, opened in 2021. Both buildings are joined by a third-floor connector, and the new building also features a 2,735-square-foot rooftop terrace venue.
The Bear Jones Moore Reeves Center has eight classrooms and lecture halls, four computer labs, one emerging technologies lab, one prototyping lab, and offices for faculty and staff.
The facility is named for the Bear Family Foundation, the late Bill and Jo Jones, the Pete Moore family and Jim Reeves, who collectively donated $1 million to PSC to fund STEM-related scholarships.
The building was paid for with $18.9 million in state funding and $11.9 million from Triumph Gulf Coast, the organization charged with distributing funds from the $1.5 billion settlement from BP following the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Triumph Gulf Coast funds were also used for student scholarships, student fee waivers and certificates, salaries for the cybersecurity/internet technology programs, recruiting, technology and other equipment and supplies.
Bear family matriarch Belle Bear said the building and the $1 million in scholarships will be a benefit to students and the community at large.
“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.”
Pensacola Mayor D.C. Reeves, whose father Jim Reeves is one of the four scholarship donors, also said the building and its future students would benefit Pensacola and the region.
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“PSC is trying to help build our talent pool,” Reeves said. “That allows us to grow our businesses here and to have (outside) businesses attracted here to the city of Pensacola.”
Both Phase I and Phase II buildings were designed by Florida Architects. Ajax Corp was the Phase I general contractor. The Morette Company was the general contractor for Phase II.
Both the Baars Technology Building and the Bear Jones Moore Reeves Center for Math and Advanced Technology were built to replace the 60-year-old Mary Ellison Baars Building, which was demolished in January 2019.