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Jax Daily Record Monday, Feb. 15, 201612:00 PM EST

50 years ago: Northside site recommended for new Florida Junior College

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by: Max Marbut Associate Editor

A coalition of residents of North Jacksonville and Nassau County went on record in favor of establishing Florida Junior College at Jacksonville (now Florida State College at Jacksonville) on a wooded tract with a man-made lagoon.

The 160-acre site, called the Broward property, was between North Main Street and Interstate 95 near Broward Road.

Endorsement of the site came at a meeting of the Northside Businessmen’s Club at the Gatepost Restaurant.

Three other locations were considered by a selection committee.

One was property along Lem Turner Road near Dunn Avenue. Another was property Downtown bounded by Broad, Laura, State and Eighth streets.

Also considered was the Florida Air National Guard facility at Imeson Airport, which would be closed after construction of Jacksonville International Airport was complete.

Selection of the Broward property would have to be approved by an advisory board of the Duval County Board of Public Instruction, School Superintendent Ish Brant and the state Junior College Board.

J. Bruce Wilson, the two-year college’s president who had been at work for just one week, said FJC would be dedicated to the concept of building “an institution of high quality designed to serve the needs of the people of Duval and Nassau counties.”

The college was due to open in the fall, with an unused elementary school on Flagler Avenue in South Jacksonville as its first campus.

• The City Commission approved and sent to the Department of Housing and Urban Development an application for planning funds for reducing pollution in the Hogans Creek and Smith drainage systems.

The application was for $67,230 in preliminary and final planning funds for the $1.2 million pollution control project, Jacksonville’s first.

Highways and Sewers Commissioner Henry Broadstreet said the application was the first phase in his overall program for assistance in the $24 million St. Johns River anti-pollution project, expected to be completed in 1970.

The commission received two communications regarding establishment of a Community Antenna Television system, which was described as “a form of pay television permitting a wider selection of programs.”

One submission was from attorney John Paul Howard, who applied for a CATV franchise on behalf of Complete Channel TV.

The other was from Julian Jackson, who stated the existing commercial television stations adequately served the area.

• A Louisiana prison escapee accused of robbery in Duval County declared to everyone in Criminal Court he wouldn’t stand trial on the charge.

Judge William Harvey disagreed and set the trial for April 5.

Johnny Beamon Jennings was slated to appear before Harvey to have his trial date set on a charge of robbing the Food Fair grocery store at 6269 Old. St. Augustine Road of $2,500.

Bailiffs said Jennings balked at coming out of the prisoner detention cell behind the courtroom, so some county jail guards were brought in to “persuade him” to walk before the judge’s bench.

When he got there, Jennings made several defiant remarks, wouldn’t have anything to do with the assistant public defender assigned to represent him and informed all within earshot he would not stand trial.

When the assistant state attorney read the charges to him, Jennings said, “What’s wrong with that?”

Harvey ended it all by setting the trial date and Jennings walked back to the detention cell.

Police said Jennings was one of six prisoners who escaped in Louisiana the day before the robbery. Two of the escapees joined him in the robbery, but got away.

He was captured after a chase that ended in St. Johns County.

In an odd twist to the case, Harvey was in the rear of the store when the robbery occurred, but was unaware the crime was being committed near the front at the checkout counter.

He said he might have to disqualify himself from the case, even though he didn’t catch a glimpse of the bandits.

• Higher pay scales for assistant counselors in Juvenile Court were approved the County Civil Service Board.

Juvenile Court Judge Lamar Winegeart Jr. appeared with his colleague, Judge Gordon Duncan Jr., to advise the board that higher pay was essential to recruit and retain qualified personnel. The position required a bachelor’s degree.

Winegeart said the annual salary range for a starting assistant counselor was $5,050 to $5,400.

The new starting salary was set at $5,040 with a raise to $5,392 after six months and specified annual increases up to $9,120 after 15 years.

• A college of arts and sciences would be established at Jacksonville University, said President Robert Spiro.

He announced plans for the new college while addressing the Rotary Club of South Jacksonville at the Green Turtle Restaurant.

“As a logical step in the rapid development of the university, we are now grouping five academic divisions into one core college of arts and sciences,” he said. “It recognizes that a university exists to educate rather than train.”

In 1966, JU had five divisions — education, business administration, social sciences, science and mathematics and humanities, plus a College of Music and Fine Arts, a two-year nursing school and a master of arts in teaching program.

The college would be organized and a dean appointed by Aug. 1, Spiro said.

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