Classroom Center Set for Grand Re-Opening
Some oohs and aahs are expected to be heard when West Texas A&M University celebrates the grand re-opening of its Classroom Center on Monday, Aug. 24.
That’s because a $16.2 million renovation of the 40-year-old building has just been completed, and the once outdated facility now shines from top to bottom with new paint, carpet and an abundance of natural sunlight along with the latest in smart-classroom technology. Community members are invited to drop by and see the renovations and tour the classrooms, offices and newly created Student Success Center during grand re-opening festivities from 5:30-7 p.m. Various speakers are on tap to talk about the impact of the Classroom Center, and tours of the new facility will be available. Refreshments will be served.
The Classroom Center, once dubbed the ‘banana building,” was built in 1968 and just a little over a year ago, faculty and staff moved from the outdated facility so the renovations could begin. When the fall semester starts on Monday, Aug. 24, students will be amazed to see the many changes that have taken place to create a learning space that will meet University needs for many years to come.
One of the biggest changes found in the newly renovated building is the Student Success Center. The center fills the Classroom Center’s first floor with a centralized desk surrounded by glassed-in offices for the STARR Center (advising), Student Employment Services, Counseling Services, Educational Services (tutoring, testing, supplemental instruction), First-Year Experience (New Student Orientation, Learning Communities), Life Services, Nationally Competitive Scholarships, Student Support Services, Student Disability Services, Study Abroad, Transfer Center and the Writing Lab.
“I am thrilled with the new space,” Montana Hisel-Cochran, coordinator of Student Disability Services, said. “Not only are we finally in a location that is easily accessible to students, we are close to other professionals and therefore can offer a more seamless process to students. In the last week, my student traffic has doubled because other staff members are able to walk potential students down to my office. And the increase in testing rooms from three to eight means that we can better assist both students and faculty as well as other staff who have small room needs.”
And WTAMU faculty members are pleased with the new space, too.
“I am amazed by the renovations which have turned a dark, uninspiring building into a bright, inviting learning space,” Dr. Pat Tyrer, assistant professor of English, said. “Every floor has comfortable spaces for students to gather and relax between classes. But the most impressive part of the renovation is the use of natural light which floods nearly all the spaces. It was well worth the wait.”
In addition to the comfortable gathering places, students will discover technology-rich classrooms filled with study tables and chairs instead of the traditional desks. The Classroom Center houses 40 classrooms and naming rights have been assigned to several of the rooms—Arthur Glover Accounting Classroom, Stan and Greta Liles Classroom, Neil and Anne Terry Classroom, FirstBank Southwest Classroom, Schaeffer Trading and Technology Classroom and Wilder Graduate Room (named by David and Myrt Wilder). Additional naming rights are available. For more information, contact Teresa Clemons, director of development, at 806-651-2647.
Faculty and staff began moving back into the Classroom Center in late July in preparation for the first class day on Aug. 24, and University officials are ready to share the facility with community members for a few oohs and aahs during grand re-opening festivities.