TARPON SPRINGS — St. Petersburg College opened its new College of Education building here last week and named it for two of the college's longtime supporters, former U.S. Rep. Mike Bilirakis and his wife, Evelyn, a college trustee.
The two-story Bilirakis College of Education with a soaring glass atrium is a former manufacturing plant. It was remodeled extensively to provide classrooms, a bookstore, a cafeteria and administrative offices. The project cost just more than $11 million.
The new facility doubles the space for the College of Education.
The college purchased the 16-acre property at U.S. 19 and Klosterman Road after the Florida Legislature appropriated funds in 2002. The purchase expanded the Tarpon Springs campus by nearly a quarter and extended it to U.S. 19 frontage.
The building was designed by Mason Blau & Associates and built by Peter Brown Construction Co.
The Tarpon Springs campus was chosen for SPC's College of Education because of its proximity to Pasco and Hillsborough counties, officials said. Two-year students at Pasco-Hernando Community College and Hillsborough Community College could transfer directly into SPC's four-year education degree program.
Since it opened in 2004, the College of Education has graduated more than 1,300 students, and many teach in bay area schools, officials said.