Escambia Moving Forward With $1.5 Million 4-H Facility

December 30, 2012

The Escambia County Commission is set to move forward with design work on a new Escambia County 4-H Center located at the Escambia County Extension Office on Stefani Road.

Earlier this year, the children and teens on the 4-H County Council voted to sell their 240 acre Langley Bell 4-H Center to Navy Federal Credit Union. Navy Federal will pay $3.6 million for the property next to the credit union’s campus in Beulah, and the Escambia County Commission is constructing the new 4-H Center on Stefani Road with $1.5 million in local option sales tax funds.

At their January 3 meeting, the Escambia Commission is expected to approve a $170,000 contract with Hernandez Calhoun Design International for architectural and engineering services for the new 4-H Center. The design project is expected to be complete in 105 days, plus an additional 30 days for construction bids and 240 days for construction administration.

The new 4-H Center will be a single story building just under 10,000 square feet that will include a multi-purpose room/auditorium with stage, kitchen, offices, reception area, life skills room, science room with wet lab, volunteer room with technology lab, county council,club meeting room and storage. Plans also call for a potential 500 square foot exterior teaching pavilion.

A 12-member 4-H Task Force is currently holding meetings to study the needs of the local 4-H Youth Development program by evaluating options to compliment the 4-H Center on Stefani Road.

During the next six months, the task force will develop viable options that may be considered to meet the animal science, natural resources, and outdoor education needs of
the UF/IFAS Extension 4-H Youth Development Program in Escambia County. The Task Force will present its findings to the UF/IFAS Dean of Extension, who will in turn use the information provided by the task force to make decisions for the 4-H program.

Pictured top: The Langley Bell 4-H Center was sold to Navy Federal Credit Union for $3.6 million. A portion of the neighboring Navy Federal complex in Beulah can be seen in the background of this photograph of the  Langley Bell Building. Pictured below: A new 4-H Center will be constructed adjacent to the Escambia County Extension Office on Stefani Road. photos, click to enlarge.


23 Responses to “Escambia Moving Forward With $1.5 Million 4-H Facility”

  1. 4-H Alumni on January 1st, 2013 1:18 pm

    Speechless….for a sec…….This is such a travesty of justice….what was intended for a perpetual gift for past,present and future youth of our county has morphed into a fight over $$$’s for the mighty and powerful “system” to receive gain…
    If we don’t do it right – right now – the present and future youth will not have resources available to learn important life skills in the agricultural and animal husbandry fields.
    A student does not learn with only classroom experience….there are enough “college grads” in the system who don’t do the “in- field” calls necessary to properly facilitate the duties of the current Ex. Office system.
    Visual and hands on lessons are so important to most of our youth for the complete learning cycle. To restrict the field and barn lessons would stifle the determination and resolve, the ability to process all of the skills necessary to adequately become a true 4-Her…head, heart,hands and health.
    Ironic…..the very motto we are trying to preserve is the very one that is being tragically yanked away. :( Without the land, environment, space, agricultural equipment and other related resources…our kids will not have the necessary tools of learning as a springboard for the future of agriculture…in our town, our county, or our country. Sad….

  2. Whatthehay on January 1st, 2013 11:49 am

    THE WHOLE POINT IS: this land was never ever suppose to sold to begin with, it did not belong to the aka county it was donated in good faith to the 4H, the cc would not encourage anything ifit had not been sold to begin with. This land was to be there long after all of us are gone. You tell me how you could ever replace the nature and beauty of this piece of land, it wasn’t just about livestock and growing things, some children have never seen land like this and sadly now they never will.

  3. david lamb on January 1st, 2013 10:40 am

    Nick Place sounds reasonable. In my conversations with him, he has stated that he wants all the possibi;lities and info before he makes a decision. WRE need to keep the pressure on him,but write/call/email the commisio0ners too!
    I was told by a person in the know that dear Pam asked him if 10 acres would suffice and if he knew where there was 10 acres for sale. His answer was a resounding NO. If you want to discuss the Bayer property I AM ALL FOR THAT!
    Bet Miss Allen went away mad!
    Spending money on Stefani Rd is Pams way of getting what SHE wants. The MOU appears to be an appeasement with no legality behind it. It took away the right of the youth to have any say in what Pam Allen does or what IFAS does.

  4. Gulf Coast on December 31st, 2012 10:28 am

    I encourage each and everyone of you to show your displeasure by calling the county commissioners and telling them to hold that money up.

  5. Sandra on December 31st, 2012 10:17 am

    Surprised? Hardly, we all knew this was going to happen. It boils down to the mighty dollar and we would sell our own children for that green stuff.

  6. Molino lady on December 31st, 2012 8:40 am

    I think its a crying shame that the 4-H children will miss out on all their activities until the higher ups make up their minds on how to spend the money they receive from the sale of their land to Navy Federal. The Bayer land on Crabtree Church in Molino would have been the piece of land I would have chosen. What’s wrong, don”t the big wigs making the decision on what land to buy, want to drive to Molino. 4-H is suppose to be about the children’s projects. Stephani Road is residenal property. Not a place for the kids to enjoy nature and their surroundings. I think its a shame, myself.

  7. concerned. citizen on December 31st, 2012 5:51 am

    I agree with gulf coast. Its not the county commissioners its the leadership with the extension office. Every decision falls on the dean Nick place. However the county commissioners should hold up the money that they are over which is the lost dollars that is the only leverage we have. We will end up with no land and a gold empire of a building if this money is not held up. They will use all the 1.5 plus another million leaving not enough money to replace what we once had. I plead with the public to stand up for our kids like you did for the library system. We need your support. Don’t be silent email your commissioners and dr place

  8. 429SCJ on December 31st, 2012 2:19 am

    @ Molino Jim. These Commissioners have no shame. They only seek to advance their own interest at the cost of others.

    Time will wash away these commissioners and the world will be shed of them.

  9. gulfcoast on December 30th, 2012 9:00 pm

    It wasnt the CC fault, in fact they did support the resolution “encouraging” extension to find a suitable replacement. Two brand new commissioners as well, hopefully even more supportive of what the kids did for this county.

    Show your displeasure with extension with an email to Nick Place, dont bother with Diem, Allen, or Vergot they want nothing to do with a new Langley Bell Property.

  10. molino jim on December 30th, 2012 8:53 pm

    To the 4H members– welcome to Civics 101. You have just learn how government 101 works. As of yesterday one of the members of the “select committee” was ask about what was being done about the 4H property, he stated there had been no decision made. I guess he’s one of the CC’s hand picked movers and shakers. My daughter was a member of 4H when she was young, my wife had to take her to meetings because of my job. She fussed about having to drive home at night and now the same thing is still going to happen. How many members of 4H live south of Cantonment as compared to the north end. How much live stock can be kept on the property the CC want 4H to use? I know the other people living in the area are going to enjoy the smell and sounds of live stock next door to them. Also is this property the county already owns or has WD and the rest of the good old boys returned. THE COUNTY COMMISSION SHOULD BE ASHAME OF THIS AND OF OF THEIR SELVES.

  11. Whatthehay on December 30th, 2012 8:29 pm

    GulfCoast, contact your County Commisioner, really? They were the trustees and they allowed this to happen to begin with thats who it all started with.

  12. Gulf Coast on December 30th, 2012 7:12 pm

    If you are truly concerned about the future of 4H, I encourage each and every one of your to contact your county commissioner’s office, voice those concerns. Also and probably most importantly you need to contact Dr. Nick Place, the new Dean of Extension, his email is:

    Dr. Place is the one who will ultimately decide what will happen with the $1.6 million dollars allocated from the sale of the Langley Bell property. If enough citizens show their displeasure with the way Ms. Allen, and Mr. Diem is handling this situation, it can only help.

    The Task Force does not even get to vote on their favorite proposal, another way Ms Allen has taken the citizens voice away from them. I repeat the Task Force doesnt get a vote..

    The 4Hers of this county did their civic duty to support economic job growth in this county. The taxpayers need to voice their displeasure with the people WE pay to grow the 4H program in this county. They have failed miserably at their job, and we need to make sure the CC and Dr. Place know this.

  13. david lamb on December 30th, 2012 7:01 pm

    one more thing!
    Economic development got their wishes
    chamber of commers got their wishes
    Navy Federal got their wishes
    commissioner got brownie points for sale
    All the muckity muck got sonmething
    when does 4Hfamilies get what they want
    good ole boy network at work?????????

  14. Carl on December 30th, 2012 6:56 pm

    I do not have any ties with 4H but it seems the kids are being took advantage of. Going from 240 acres to 20 acres, what kind of deal is that? I wish the public would rally around the kids and make the County Commission and whoever else is in charge do the right thing. Seems like the 4H needs a Good Lawyer.

  15. david lamb on December 30th, 2012 6:39 pm

    The youth of Escambia 4H deserve better representation than this!
    IFAS, Pam Allen and Keith Diem are trying to ram their desires down our throats!
    NO money shoulkd be spent on Stephani RD until the results, conclusions and desires of the 4H families/members of Escambia county are determined.
    As a former 4Her and member of 4H alumni, I want to see Bayer property bought and all Extension activities moved to that location.
    I also make no bones about supporting new management in the Escambia extension office.
    For any state, local or federal funds to be spent on the Current extension office is dead wrong and Commissioners need to be careful with spending monies on that location.

  16. russ on December 30th, 2012 12:53 pm

    Now it looks like the cc’s are gonna stick it to the children just like they stuck it to the employees.

  17. Jodie on December 30th, 2012 11:52 am

    I find it hard to believe that the 4-H Kids sold their 240 acres and are settling for a few acres next to the extension office. And now they have to spend more money to build facilities on this small amount of land.

    Whatever happened to the Bayer land??? It has all the buildings on it needed for livestock, meetings, etc, etc.

    Sounds like the “Task Force” and adults took over and are giving the kids the shaft.

  18. dick tracy on December 30th, 2012 11:17 am

    There isn’t nothing surprizing me anymore with our dictatorship. Just another chicken soup sandwich…….

  19. SANDI on December 30th, 2012 10:46 am

    This might be a dumb question but if they are getting $3.6 million for the land why are we using local option sales tax money to build their building?

  20. whatthehay on December 30th, 2012 10:24 am

    Dear Mr. Matt Langley Bell, you set that property aside for the future of the children of Escambia County, your wishes were not honored and now the 240 that were left after the first sale is now being squeezed on to 20. I apologize for the carelessness that was forced upon a legacy and trust, this is so sad. Idon’t want to hear about it brought jobs and other stuf blah, blah , blah there is hundreds of acres of federal land right next to the navy federal ( for a few helicopters to train on) and also other lands available for purchase this is a crying shame.

  21. Sandra on December 30th, 2012 9:19 am

    So the Bayer property on Crabtree is out? I thought that that property was better suited. I guess in the end the extension service will dictate this deal as none of them want to drive to Molino.

  22. Bama54 on December 30th, 2012 8:08 am

    I did not know this a done deal! I thought the 4-h were looking for area to build!

  23. concerned. citizen on December 30th, 2012 7:12 am

    I will be asking commissioners to hold off on approving this until the task force had time to do their job and the dean has selected where the livestock and the “camp” is going to go. They 4-H is planning one using the 1.5 million lost dollars on the facility plus portions of the 1.6 that everyone thought was allocated for land. The MOU had loop holes in its wording but they played it off as the total 1.6 could be used for land. The public is being led to believe 4H is doing the right thing and that is by far not the truth. I urge you to get involved and insure its a win win for all. At this point the kids are getting the shaft

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