St. Petersburg College constructed a new science lab in the Technology Learning Center building over the summer, allowing the Seminole campus to offer chemistry and microbiology classes for the first time.
Photo by TIFFANY RAZZANO
New Student Activities Center
Photo by TIFFANY RAZZANO
The book store is in an expanded space in the library building.
SEMINOLE – In preparation for the fall 2013 semester, which begins on Monday, Aug. 19, St. Petersburg College’s Seminole campus saw significant changes and construction this summer.
The college spent $4.5 million, primarily from the state’s Public Education Capital Outlay funds, to enhance 12 areas on campus.
“It’s all part of a major thrust to put the facilities in place to ensure students’ success,” said Provost Dr. James Olliver.
The first construction project was completed in mid-July, when the college bookstore relocated from the University Partnership building to a larger space in the library building that once housed a café. This move cost $150,000 and was funded entirely by Barnes and Noble.
The vacated space in the UP building will be used to expand the café in that building, doubling its size, Olliver said. This project will begin in the fall.
The most significant changes made to the UP building this summer include the construction of a large recreational Student Activities Center and technology upgrades to the Digitorium video wall.
A computer lab was remodeled to create the SAC, which was previously located in a much smaller office. The college also recently promoted Malena Buck, formerly a student adviser, to coordinator of Student Life and Leadership. With this new space, she’ll begin a peer advisory program this semester.
The Digitorium Video Wall, which hadn’t been upgraded since it was originally constructed over 10 years ago, now features “leading edge technology,” Olliver said. Previously, the wall used three screens, but now it’s “one solid wall and the image covers the entire wall,” he said.
The UP building’s Artway, a small hallway used to showcase area and SPC artists, also saw enhancements this summer, including the installation of track lighting and more visible signage.
The Technology Learning Center building also saw significant improvements.
The Learning Center, where the majority of tutoring takes place, added an informal lounge area, with a TV, couch and reference materials.
“This is more of a relaxation area,” said Jennifer Gregor, information services librarian. “It gives students the opportunity to see what’s going on in the center.”
Technological and visual enhancements were made to the writing and math labs, with new smartboards and a wall-to-wall whiteboard. And the main area of the Learning Center was repurposed, with more seating where students can plug in their laptops, and a layout that encourages collaboration and group projects.
“We’re being much more intentional about our tutoring services,” Olliver said. “Our focus is on student success.”
The college also constructed a brand new addition to the TL building, a more informal area with TVs, tables and vending machines.
Olliver is most proud of the new science lab in the TL building, which allows SPC to offer chemistry and microbiology for the first time. A new classroom also was constructed in that wing and is ready to be converted into a second lab as soon as the funding and need is there, he said.
“This is a big deal for us,” he said.
“It’s very important programmatically. Now we can offer things we weren’t able to before.”
New faculty offices were also created in the TL building, as well as in the library.
“For the first time since we opened this campus, all full-time faculty has an office,” Olliver said.
These faculty members previously utilized space in the portable offices. Because they have relocated to new, permanent offices, this allowed the college to expand some of its programs into the portable buildings.
The veterans program now has more than double the space it once had, making a more inviting environment for veterans seeking services on campus. “Military Times” named SPC one of the top 15 most veteran friendly colleges in the country. Student Support Services also was able to expand into more space.
With so much space available for study groups and those collaborating on projects around campus, Olliver saw the need for a quieter study space. So the college created the Silent Study Room in the library.
“Some students need that kind of quiet environment,” Olliver said.
Other changes in the library building include the relocation of Dr. John Chapin, the dean of Natural Sciences, as well as the Institute for Strategic Policy Solutions to new second-floor offices, and the construction of the Center of Excellence in Teaching and Leaning, and Faculty Development Center.
The major project in the library building, though, was the construction of a state-of-the-art tiered classroom. The classroom’s design is based on Seminole’s City Council chambers at City Hall, and Olliver said he hopes to hold a council meeting at SPC at some point.
“I think the community can be proud of what we’ve done this summer,” Olliver said.
“We’ve added functionality and activities that ensure students success.”