St. Petersburg College has been chosen as the 2015 EPA Brownfield Phoenix Award winner. This prestigious award honors the innovative leadership of men and women working to solve the critical environmental problems of transforming abandoned property into productive sites for new economic and community opportunities and assets.
St. Petersburg College was chosen for this award for the development of the new Douglas L. Jamerson, Jr. Midtown Center.
“I could not be more proud to be part of the college’s work in the revitalization of the Midtown community,” said Jim Waechter, Associate Vice President, Facilities Planning & Institutional Services. Every construction project that we endeavor is rewarding, but this project is particularly so because of the significant tangible effect that it will produce in our community for generations to come.”
“What an honor it is for the college to be recognized for its efforts to breathe some life back into an important stretch of 22nd Street in Midtown,” said Tonjua Williams, Senior Vice President, Student Services. “We’re proud to be part of the educational and economic revitalization of this historic area of St. Petersburg.”
The new center includes graphic art installations that tell the story of the rich history of Midtown, and 22nd Street – affectionately nicknamed “The Deuces.” At the recent grand opening of the new center, community members walked the halls and shared their memories of eating at Geech’s BBQ, working at the old Mercy Hospital, and dancing nights away at the old Manhattan Casino. Classes began this fall in the new, 49,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art college campus, located in St. Petersburg’s historic Midtown neighborhood.
“Our enrollment is already up by 50% over last fall, which illustrates the strong desire within the community for increased educational opportunities,” said SPC Midtown Provost Kevin Gordon. “We are also thrilled by the number of community members who are utilizing the services provided at the Midtown Center.”
St. Petersburg College has long been dedicated to providing educational opportunities in Midtown. The original 10,000-square-foot Midtown Center at 1048 22nd St. S., opened in 2003 as part of a $2 million St. Petersburg Housing Authority’s HOPE VI project.
In 2012, as demand for classes and community involvement grew, SPC’s Board of Trustees approved a $14 million expenditure to build the new three-story building on land leased from the City of St. Petersburg. The new center includes multiple classrooms, two science labs, three computer labs, a book store, a community room and a career center.
The award was presented to the college at the National Brownfields Training Conference, Sept. 2-4 in Chicago. The conference is the largest training and networking event in the nation focused on economic redevelopment and sustainability.