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North Port celebrates opening of technical college and library

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STCNP and SSL Ribbon Cutting Ceremony

HURRAY! Officials from Sarasota County Schools, Sarasota County Government and the City of North Port celebrate the opening of Suncoast Technical College-North Port and the Shannon Staub Library.

NORTH PORT, Nov. 7, 2017 - Cheers rang out as Sarasota County School Board members, Sarasota County commissioners and North Port commissioners cut the ribbon on a collaborative project Tuesday, Nov. 7 — Suncoast Technical College-North Port and the Shannon Staub Library. 

    More than 300 people celebrated the grand opening of the facility. “This project came together so well because it was the right thing to do,” said Superintendent Todd Bowden, who also talked about future phases of the technical college. County commissioner and former state senator Nancy Detert called it “a dream come true.”

    Mayor Linda Yates cited the North Port motto, “Achieve anything,” and said the combined technical college, library and conference center is proof that the saying is true. 

    Several speakers lauded the partnership as a model of cooperative and efficient government. Many also sang the praises of former county commissioner Shannon Staub, for whom the library is named. School Board member Eric Robinson said, “I’m a member of the Shannon Staub Fan Club.” 

    Other speakers cited Staub’s passion for libraries and dedication to progress in south Sarasota County. Sarabeth Kalajian, director of Libraries and Historical Resources for the county, presented Staub with the Library Champion Award from the Tampa Bay Library Consortium.

    Staub and Ron DiPillo, executive director of Career, Technical and Adult Education for Sarasota County Schools and master of ceremonies for the event, shared the scissors to cut the ribbon on the facility. They were surrounded by elected officials and administrators from the three partnering organizations.

    The speeches and ribbon-cutting were followed by tours of the technical college and library.

    About Suncoast Technical College and Shannon Staub Library

    The combined facility that houses Suncoast Technical College and conference center and the Shannon Staub Library is the result of agreements among the school board, the county commission and the city commission to share the facility and costs for the benefit of citizens. The college includes a conference center jointly funded by Sarasota County Schools and the City of North Port.

    In order to better serve the growing population of North Port, staff from Sarasota County Schools and Sarasota County Libraries first presented the idea of a joint-use project at the January 2014 Convocation of Governments. In October 2015 the Sarasota County Commission approved the naming of the new library for former Commissioner Shannon Staub — citing her 14 years of service to the county, her strong advocacy of libraries and her leadership in establishing the Library Foundation. In June 2015 the North Port City Commission voted to augment the School Board’s budget for the college in order to include a community conference center.

    Suncoast Technical College-North Port, which opened to students Oct. 17, is the latest career and technical education facility of Sarasota County Schools. The college houses a Commercial Foods and Culinary Arts program with a kitchen adjacent to the conference center, much like the one at the college’s Sarasota campus.

    Other programs, such as Accounting, Business Management, Carpentry, Industrial Technologies, Emergency Medical Technician, General Equivalency Diploma and English for Speakers of Other Languages will prepare high school students for the workforce, allow adult students to hone their skills and develop new ones, provide Adult & Community Enrichment classes, and help local businesses and industries find qualified employees.

    Additional courses leading to licensing and certification in a variety of other fields will be added later. The college is now enrolling students for classes that start in January on the North Port campus. Financial aid is available for qualifying students. Future phases of STC-North Port will include additional programs.

    The Shannon Staub Library is the newest addition to Sarasota County Libraries. It features a multimedia collection of print and digital resources for all ages, meeting and study rooms, a Friends of the Library Bookstore, outdoor gardens with comfortable seating, a children’s area and a high-tech teen center. The library also includes Creation Station — a center with tools such as a 3D printer, a laser cutter and a suite of sewing machines, allowing users to create a variety of hands-on projects.

    The budgeted and projected final cost of all components of the two-story, 77,500-square-foot facility, including furniture, fixtures and equipment, is $27.7 million. The design includes ideas shared by community members at public forums in 2015. The project team includes SchenkelShultz Architecture, Willis Smith Construction, Jensen and Group Engineering Consultants, DWJA Landscape Architects, Engineering Matrix and PDES Design Group. Suncoast Technical College-North Port and the Shannon Staub Library are located at 4445 Career Lane. 


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