On this site, Pensacola Junior College (PJC) opened its doors on September 13, 1948. It was the first public junior college created by the Florida Legislature under the Minimum Foundation Program Act of 1947, signed into law by Governor Millard F. Caldwell. The Escambia County School Board received authority to establish the college. District staff Jesse Barfield and Margaret Andrus helped James L. McCord, principal of Pensacola High School, prepare the initial proposal and continued as faculty. McCord became the first director of PJC. The Aiken Boarding House provided classrooms for the first 136 students. James H. Allen, president of Florida Pulp and Paper Company, contributed the first two year's rent for the facility. In June 1953, the College moved one block south to the old Pensacola High School. On May 13, 1955, Governor LeRoy Collins signed a bill appropriating $1,243,000 to the college, which resulted in the 1956 purchase of property on 9th Avenue, now the college's main campus. Pensacola's Booker T. Washington Junior College was established as Florida's first black junior college in 1949, and at the height of the Civil Rights Movement, merged with PJC in 1965.