NICEVILLE — Northwest Florida State College celebrated completion of the final phase of its $25.5 million construction and renovation project Wednesday with the grand opening of its new Activities Center.

View a slideshow of the event.

Renovation of the 31,675-square-foot building, formerly the College Mall, has given a new home to the campus’ Academic Success Center, a Barnes & Noble and offices for the college’s Student Activities program and Florida’s Great Northwest.

At the Academic Success Center, students receive in-person tutoring, online tutoring, essay editing and more. Over the past five years there has been an 83 percent increase in students using the center, said Ty Handy, NWF State’s president.

“When the college’s Academic Success Center was first established in 1989, we knew academic support outside the classroom was a key component of student success, and that holds true today even more than it did 20 years ago,” Handy said.

Jacqueline Sexton, a student at Collegiate High School on campus, said the Academic Success Center’s new location has made it easier to review essays or print out a paper.

“I’ll probably use it more just because it’s closer,” Sexton said.

The new Barnes & Noble has been a hit for many students, with a long line constantly forming for some Starbucks. It takes up half of the center and fills its space with textbooks, snacks and a spot for students to hang out.

Freshman Amanda Rolf said the new building is easier to navigate. Finding her books for the new semester was a breeze.

“It was kind of cluttered before,” Rolf said. “This is better laid out. Overall, it’s a really nice building.”

By having offices at the college, Florida’s Great Northwest strengthens its connection with education, said Larry Sassano, the organization’s president.

“If you looked at the trends today in terms of industries that are growing, the main factor missing from sites available is a trained labor force,” Sassano said.

Student groups, Student Government and professional affiliation groups also have a home now. The organizations are crucial in getting students involved in campus life, Handy said.

“We don’t want them to come to class and then leave,” Handy said. “We want them to be involved in the full college experience.”

Guests at Wednesday’s grand opening also toured the new Janet Nadel Morell Conference Room in the center.

The room was named after the late Janet Nadel Morell of Niceville, who enjoyed the college’s offerings after she moved to the area at age 79. Her family, Bob and Venita Morell of Niceville and Susan and David Cohen of Potomac, Md., provided an endowment that will fund the needs of the Costa Leadership Institute.

“Your gift provides long-term support for existing programs and assists us in achieving our mission of improving lives at Northwest Florida State College,” Handy told the family.

Daily News Staff Writer Lauren Delgado can be reached at 850-315-4445 or Follow her on Twitter @LaurenDnwfdn.