MONROE, Mich. – Construction officially began this morning on a major renovation project at Monroe County Community College that will transform two 1960s-era buildings into a single, modern facility specifically designed to foster student success.
MCCC officials ceremonially broke ground on the construction phase of the renovation of the East and West Technology buildings, which once housed industrial technology programs that are now based in the Career Technology Center.
The ceremony took place on the southern portion of the central, interior mall area of the Main Campus, directly in front of where the north entrance to the renovated facility’s new main corridor and academic commons will be located.
The combined facility will house numerous support services geared toward student success; state-of-the art classrooms, computer labs and work spaces; an abundance of adaptable student lounge and collaboration spaces; private student group work areas; several college departments and programs, and more.
The renovation will add 7,600 square feet and bring the total space in the new, combined facility to approximately 60,000 square feet.
The renovated facility is slated to be open in time for the start of Fall Semester in 2020.
“Today marks another very important milestone in the 55-year history of our college – the repurposing of two of the original buildings on MCCC’s campus into an impressive, expansive facility designed to promote the success of all of our students,” said MCCC Board Chair Lynette Dowler. “It will be a one-stop shop for student support services such as learning assistance, tutoring, disability services and online learning support, as well as a place for students to work together academically and connect in instructional environments designed for engaged learning.”
The cost of the project is $9 million, with $5.25 million funded by the 5-year Maintenance and Improvement Millage passed by Monroe County voters in November 2016 and $3.75 million by state of Michigan.
“I appreciate standing alongside colleagues like this in the state legislature that make sure Monroe County Community College is allowed to do what it is supposed to do,” said Congressman Tim Walberg. “Well done. I look forward to more projects like this that are able to be planned in a way that makes sense for students and the community.”
“The college recognized the needs of the next generation,” said State Rep. Dale Zorn. “I know how important it is to maintain a well-run organization here [at the college] that will shape our future, and MCCC has done this.”
Community involvement was vital to raising the visibility of the importance of the project and getting it through budget process, said State Rep. Jason Sheppard, adding that “What’s most important is when these students get in here and the learning environment is conducive to what their needs are.”
Student Government President Samantha Beaudrie concurred. “The commitment of millage approval and state funding demonstrates how our community values the education students receive here,” she said.
The facility will include a large academic commons area that will run through the main corridor between the two main entrances. Within that academic commons area will be multiple small group study and collaborative seating areas. Lining the main corridor will be three private study rooms, a large open computer space, an open work area complete with two office areas and a conference room, and an open tutoring space.
“The need for collaborative learning was validated again recently during strategic planning sessions with our students,” said Dr. Randell Daniels, vice president of student and information services at MCCC.
In the west wing of the building will be numerous student support services, including disability services, tutoring/learning assistance, testing, and online learning technology and support, as well as several media studios for student use, a computer classroom, innovation lab and a workroom.
In addition, the college’s Business Division, which houses multiple business- and computer-related academic programs, will be headquartered in the west wing, as well as the college’s Information Systems Department. Within the Business Division suite will be a reception area, collaboration area, workroom and seven offices. The IS Department suite will include three offices, a conference room, three workstations, a workroom area, a workshop and a service entrance.
The east wing will house the college’s graphic design and art programs – which were previously housed in two different buildings – to capitalize on the synergies between the two academic areas. MCCC’s other computer information systems programs will also be housed in the east wing, as well as five computer classrooms, an art studio, two art classrooms, two workrooms, multiple faculty offices, an active learning classroom, a small seminar classroom, one regular classroom that can be modified into an active learning classroom and a vending area.
“Engaged learning was emphasized in the design,” said Dr. Grace Yackee, vice president of instruction.
The architect for the project is Stantec. The construction manager is Barton Malow.
“The creation of this state-of-the-art facility exemplifies MCCC’s commitment to being student-centered and providing excellence to our community in the form of high-quality, accessible educational opportunities, programs and services,” said MCCC President Dr. Kojo A. Quartey.
“As a graduate of MCCC, I stand here with pride to see our college grow and be an integral part of Monroe County and the whole community,” said Monroe Township Supervisor Al Barron.
“This effort sets an important example for students,” said Ethan Harbaugh, liaison for Student Government. “As the college continues to improve, students, too, can improve and better themselves and will be supported by the college to better the world around them.”
In recognizing MCCC’s first president, Dr. Ronald Campbell and the college’s second president Gerald Welch, State Rep. Joe Bellino noted their continued importance to the college’s current and future success.
“You laid the foundation,” he said. “You made this possible. This is your legacy.”
About Monroe County Community College
Founded in 1964, Monroe County Community College is a public, two-year institution supported by tax monies from Monroe County, educational funds from the State of Michigan and student tuition. The college’s mission is to enrich lives in our community by providing opportunity through student-focused, affordable, quality higher education and other learning experiences. The Main Campus is located at 1555 South Raisinville Road, Monroe, Mich., 48161, with easy access to Toledo and Detroit. The Whitman Center is located in Temperance, Mich., 48182, near the Ohio-Michigan Border. Detailed information about MCCC is available at www.monroeccc.edu.