The chain-link fence, large crane and crew of busy construction workers at the back of Woodland Community College’s campus are the beginnings of what students will recognize as their new Learning Resource and Emerging Technology Center.
Aside from the jackhammers behind the science building and the reconstruction of a new pathway, the students hardly noticed when construction began in October 2005. But the bi-weekly updates and building plans posted in building 100, opposite the Board Room, made students wonder what the next 15 to 18 months of construction will bring.
After delaying construction because of the rain, Woodland College President Angela Fairchilds excitedly announced, “The steel framing arrived (by the end of January) and there will soon be vertical evidence of the building.”
Once the building is complete, students will be able to take classes in 22 state-of-the-art classrooms, work on their homework in an Open Computer lab with 50 work stations and spend time in a modern Tutoring Center. In the same building students can also enjoy an English and Math Learning Center, a greatly expanded library with vaulted ceilings and a special collections section, more faculty offices, and group study rooms.
Staff and students who regularly attend meetings in the cramped and busy student lounge, which accommodates up to 90 people, will soon be able to stretch out once they relocate to the new Conference/Meeting Room, which will allow 300 people to attend in theater-style seating. If the crowd gets restless, there will also be a small kitchen for catering.
The Media Center will allow students to learn about how different media and to broadcast or publish their work in mass communications courses.
Students enrolled in Distance Education courses will have two large classrooms that will be separate from the library, where students can attend live television lectures without the interruptions from nearby facilities.
Many students are already describing the 55,000 square foot building as “much needed” and “something that will attract more students.” But a few are wary, wondering why the money was not put towards providing current students with the classes and instructors they need now.
Dean Fairchilds explained that low student enrollment and a few last minute faculty adjustments caused many Spring semester classes to be cancelled. She quickly noted, however, that the new Woodland Dean of Instruction, Beatriz Vasquez, who recently arrived from Riverside, CA, noticed a similar trend in student enrollment in her hometown.
Later, when questioned about the city of Woodland, she added, “We do really want to make the campus community-focused. That is our priority.”
The construction of the Learning Resource Center marks the beginning of preparations for the addition of a 4,000-home housing development in the nearby area within the next five years.
Because this is the campus’s last building to be nearly fully funded by the State Chancellor’s office, there haven’t been any issues with funding or budget cutbacks.
The rest of the campus is a work in progress, to eventually be filled in with a physical education building, theater and many other new amenities students have requested. Encouraged by the possibility of expanding the campus even further Fairchilds added, “We’re about only a third built-out for the number of buildings that will fit on campus.”
For now, students and faculty are keeping their eyes on the crane, watching their future campus being built.