With the acquisition of a 2.12-acre Key Largo property, Florida Keys Community College made an historic step in its goal to expand services to the residents and industries in northern Monroe County.  The College closed on the purchase of the property on Aug. 21 and now owns the long-sought site of the future FKCC Upper Keys Center.

Many know the property as the northern “Shell World” location at Mile Marker 106.4 on the Overseas Highway, which greeted visitors entering the Keys for many years.  This highly-visible new location replaces the College’s increasingly limited space held at Coral Shores High School and will allow the College to double its capacity to serve more than 300 students annually.

In the spirit of supporting higher education and workforce training in the Keys, the sellers, the Waterman family, reduced the $3 million price tag by $500,000.  The College will honor their generosity in the new facility.

“This is just the first step in a process that began too long ago for many to remember.  Nonetheless, it is a very important step as we acquire the title to this property that will become the higher education location for the Upper Keys,” said Dr. Jonathan Gueverra, FKCC President.

“Residents in this area have been starved for a quality facility for far too long.  Working with everyone in our community, this Center will soon be a reality. The College will offer the much-needed programs to support the local economy while increasing access for local residents and keeping tuition at affordable rates.”

The College plans to expand four existing programs in the Upper Keys: nursing, emergency medical technician, marine environmental technology, and public safety (law enforcement and corrections academies).  In addition, the College plans to develop new programs at the facility including: marine resource management, paramedic, pharmacy technician, phlebotomy, and construction technologies.

FKCC is exploring a variety of opportunities—public and private—to secure the estimated $20 million needed to construct the new facility.

Those interested in making a financial contribution to support FKCC’s new Upper Keys Center are asked to contact Dr. Frank Wood, Vice President of Advancement and Executive Director of the FKCC Foundation, at 305-809-3287 or frank.wood@fkcc.edu.