By: Tony R. McCray
Mayor Hayward joined the meeting of the $18.8 Million Bruce Beach Fish Hatchery Planning Committee, formerly branded as the Gulf Coast Marine Fisheries Hatchery and Enhancement Center, prior to the meeting’s adjournment. The meeting was held at the Pensacola City Hall in the Vince Whibbs Conference Room where the proceedings can be heard by the Mayor in his office. The important benchmark for the project was the presentation of the facility’s designs at the 30% level of completion.
Baskerville and Donovan is the prime contractor providing engineering services, and the sub-contracting architect is the Sam Marshall Architectural and Design firm. The updated designs for the $18 million fish hatchery and research center depicted both ends of the Main Street corridor. The design firm took pride in their efforts to capture the design elements of the retail/historical end on the east side versus the more industrial end on the west side of the corridor.
The actual construction was projected to be approximately more than a year off, however the new designs presented showed significant progress. Gill McCrae commented on his approval of the designs and the professional design team’s progress. McCrae is the Director of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Research Institute. The designs included interior designs, also, showing a second level walkway which will allow visitors to view the fish raising process. There are ground level viewing areas also, along with a meeting room for students, teachers, community resident, and visitors to conduct educational and other events.
The facility is being built on the Historical Bruce Beach where the African-American community enjoyed recreation and social events during segregation. Gil McCrae stated that the designers are working with the University of West Florida on the history of Bruce Beach to ensure that the heritage of the site is not lost. In fact the actual Bruce Pool was found buried on the site by the contractors. The project should be completed in 2018 as a two-story facility.