CRAWFORDVILLE, Fla. (April 17, 2013) – Some might say the most
important part of TCC’s Wakulla Environmental Institute is already complete.
After all, the breath-taking natural space of TCC’s new property in
Crawfordville will serve as one of the Institute’s most widely-used classrooms.
Nevertheless, it was with great excitement that the College broke ground on
Monday, symbolizing the beginning of design and construction on the Institute’s
Donning hardhats and hoisting shovels, TCC President Jim Murdaugh
and WEI Director Bob Ballard—with the help of TCC Board of Trustees members and
local Wakulla dignitaries—scooped earth and celebrated TCC’s expanded future in
Wakulla before a crowd of over 200.
The ground breaking ceremony included remarks by Wakulla Sheriff
Charles Creel, State Senator Bill Montford, State Representative Halsey
Beshears, Wakulla County Commissioner Jerry Moore, and Lori Hutto, Congressman
Southerland’s deputy district director. TCC Board of Trustees Chair Dana G.
Callen had the honor of unveiling the new street sign that will designate the
road to the Institute—“Preservation Way.”
Before the speeches and festivities, a particularly special guest
was welcomed to the Institute—a rehabilitated owl reintroduced to the wild.
“The cooperation that’s made this Institute possible has been
truly inspiring,” said President Murdaugh. “We’re proud to have the support of
our state and local leaders and we’re dedicated to honoring their trust. We
want the design and construction of this facility to respect the principles
behind the Wakulla Environmental Institute and we will strive to ensure the
process is as eco-friendly and sustainable as possible.”
The Wakulla Environmental Institute’s facility will open to
students in the Fall semester of 2014. Yet through a combination of online and
classroom learning at TCC’s main campus, as well as field studies in Wakulla,
the Institute is already offering an environmental science technology degree
and a water quality technician college certificate. In time, the Wakulla
Environmental Institute will offer programs in hospitality and tourism
management, aquaculture management, parks and leisure services technology, and
agribusiness management. For additional information on the Institute’s
offerings, visit www.tcc.fl.edu/wei.