Early architectural rendering of CFK's new Upper Keys Center
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The College of the Florida Keys was awarded a $16 million grant from the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) on July 2 to build a new Upper Keys Center in Key Largo.  The new facility will allow CFK to expand workforce training and apprenticeship programs in the Upper Keys.  The building will also provide the College with an alternate headquarters location should another major storm strike the region.

“The College of the Florida Keys is steadfast in its mission to remain as a powerful and positive force to bring educational, workforce and economic opportunities to all of Monroe County,” said College President Dr. Jonathan Gueverra.  “As a uniting force, we work with multiple agencies including federal, state and local government entities as well as businesses, nonprofits and communities to realize long-term sustainable goals.  This allocation of $16 million represents a significant step in the direction to assure that access to higher education and post-secondary training is within reasonable reach of all residents in the Keys.”

This EDA grant will be matched with $4 million raised from local sources.

In August 2018, the College acquired the site for the new Upper Keys Center, the 2.12-acre old “Shell World” property at Mile Marker 106.4.  The new facility will replace 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.

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

With the grant in hand, the College is able to mobilize its construction plans.  Demolition of the current structures as well as design of the new building are underway.  The College’s new Upper Keys Center is slated to open in the summer of 2021.

More information about the grant can be found in the news release issued by the EDA.