SPSCC structure centralizes support

College unveils 90,000-square-foot remodel that will house variety of services

lpemberton@theolympian.comDecember 16, 2013 

The doors opened – and in some cases were still being hung – in South Puget Sound Community College’s Center for Student Success last week.

Staff members from several departments moved into the newly remodeled 90,000-square-foot structure formerly known as College Center, or Building 22.

“I didn’t sleep last night,” said director of advising Anne Molenda, as she unpacked items in her office Thursday. “I was so excited.”

The project was designed by SRG Partnership in Seattle, and its general contractor was Leo Finnegan Construction of Tacoma.

“We’re excited about the new spaces, and the opportunity to service students with a variety of needs,” said college spokesman Aaron Managhan.

The Center for Student Success will house programs ranging from enrollment services, registration, financial aid, academic advising, and counseling, to the diversity and equity center, disability support services, student recruitment and outreach, veterans services and the career center. It will house the college’s library as well.

Managhan described it as “a one-stop shopping place” for many of the noninstructional services that college students need during their time at SPSCC. The programs have traditionally been spread out on campus.

“A lot of times you would tell students, ‘Here are your resources on campus,’ and you weren’t really sure if they made it,” Molenda said.

Now that those support programs are under one roof, she said it will be easier for students to find the services they need. The central location also will make it easier for programs to collaborate on workshops and events for students, Molenda said.

The remodeling project was budgeted at about $30 million, and included demolition of most of Building 22, SPSCC’s first permanent building.

“Basically, it was stripped down to the frame,” Managhan said.

Throughout the years, Building 22 had been home to the college’s automotive and welding programs, natural science classes and instructional offices. Those programs have been relocated to other buildings, Managhan said.

In addition to student support services, the new building features several high-tech work stations where student groups can meet and work together. It also offers a coffee bar and a small bookstore.

“It has a very great ‘wow’ factor,” said office assistant Lynn Ouellet, who works in the Center for Career Services. “I can visualize when the students are in here, and it’s going to hum.”

Lisa Pemberton: 360-754-5433 lpemberton@theolympian.com @Lisa_Pemberton

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