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ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. -- A new building at Flagler College is about to open.

The communications complex is much bigger than what was there.

Larry Weeks of Flagler College said the new building is six times bigger than what was on the site before. He and others at the college believe it will be a great asset for staff and students. However, some neighbors and residents are concerned about its size.

Pollard Hall is a $7 million communications complex on Cordova Street in downtown St. Augustine.

Weeks noted "It's three distinct buildings, built in the 1st and 2nd Spanish style."

That's a colonial style. The buildings will hold high tech offerings that the other much smaller building from 1955 did not have.

"The old building we had here had 1 TV studio and 1 classroom," Weeks noted. But the 18,000 square foot facility will have eight classrooms and an HDTV studio as well as courtyards. It will also feature a Minorcan well that was found on-site during an archaeological dig.

However the complex's size has some neighbors and some residents concerned that it doesn't fit the neighborhood's historically smaller colonial scale.

Former mayor George Gardner is one of those who has opposed the complex's size. He said, "It's like the buildings by the city gate. Historically, it's probably correct, but it's on steroids." He said Flagler College's "first mission is what they need for their classes and students. The second consideration is what the city might like in terms of reflecting our history."

Weeks believes people will change their minds. "I think once everyone sees how it fits the space and how well the architect and landscape architect designed the space, it is very functional. And it fits right in with the rest of the neighborhood."

Some neighbors welcome the project and are happy to see the new buildings emerge.

Pollard Hall is expected to be complete by the fall semester which starts at the end of August.

Flagler College plans to have an open house at the building for the community to see it. It will be open to the public Aug. 22 from 4:30 – 6:30.

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