After more than five years of planning, Florida Keys Community College was set to open its new 30,000-square-foot Marine Technology Building Tuesday at the school's primary Stock Island campus.
The three-story building cost $7 million.
The first floor will house boats, engines and trailers and is connected to the second floor by way of a hoisting system. The second floor houses the school's diesel lab and engine testing room, according to college spokeswoman Amber Ernst-Leonard. The third floor is classrooms and offices.
FKCC's marine program offers classes in seamanship, gasoline and diesel engine repair and maintenance, welding and fiberglass work.
Depending on the course track, successful completion can result in an associate's degree in marine engineering, management and seamanship or a certificate in marine propulsion.
Patrick Rice, dean of career technical and workforce education and the person in charge of the marine and diving programs, said the building "represents a new era for the marine engineering program."
"The technology infused in the lab space will allow our instructors to interact with the students in ways we've never been able to before," he said.
The classrooms feature 90-inch monitors that are controlled by iPads. The rooms are set up to record lectures so students can review class sessions.
College leaders laid the foundation for the building in 2007 with initial plans for a fall 2009 opening. That was delayed by alack of available money.
Contractor Ajax Building Corp., with offices in Tallahassee and Jacksonville, started site work in December 2012, laid the foundation in February and the three-story building began taking shape with the addition of concrete tilt walls in May.
The Marine Technology Building, overlooking the college's dive lagoon, was designed by Hayes Cummings Architects of St. Petersburg.