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Construction forces Help Center relocation

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Elizabeth Graff, a chemistry major and student worker in the Center for Teaching and Learning, helps students with Blackboard questions.
A technology service for students has moved, but college officials say the level of service will stay the same. About a month ago, the ongoing construction project on the Washington Street Campus forced the Center for Teaching and Learning Student Help Center to relocate from the first floor of the Lynn Library to the second floor.“We’re supposed to move back down to the first floor after the construction is over,” said Buster Bonjour, coordinator of the Student and Faculty Help Center.The change has created some problems for students who were accustomed to the Help Center’s old location. “Newer students aren’t having a problem finding the Help Center since emails have been sent out, but students from previous semesters are having issues finding us,” Bonjour said.On average, the Help Center aids 30 to 50 students and faculty members by phone, in person and by email each week, according to Heather Voran, a CTL instructor and director of Blackboard administrative and support services. The Help Center focuses more on problems related to students, while CTL focuses more on faculty, Voran said.The Help Center exists to introduce and instruct students in the proper procedures to interact confidently with ACConnect components and other software required for course assignments. The Help Center assists students who need to reset passwords or have trouble logging in, and it teaches students how to use ACConnect and Microsoft Office, Bonjour said.Gilbert Zamora, a student worker in the Help Center, said he likes helping students and making a difference. Zamora works from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays. He said gets many students walking in asking basic questions about computers and needing help with Blackboard.“By working together, two people can figure out a problem better than one,” Zamora said. The Help Center is just one part of CTL. The college created the department to assist faculty with online course design and provide them with the tools Read more [...]

Campus construction completion anticipated for spring 2016

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The Amarillo College Washington Street Campus broke ground this summer on a $3.47 million renovation project, and the results are expected to debut in spring 2016.  The areas included in the project are the Lynn Library, the College Union Building and the outside mall common area between the library and College Union Building.  Major changes to the campus include the gutting and renovation of the entire first floor of the Lynn Library, which upon completion will become a student commons area.  The outside mall area will receive updated landscaping, a porch and seating changes to better accommodate students and staff.  Plans for the entire second floor of the CUB will yield all new lighting and fixtures, and the location of some administrative offices will change. The project was approved by the board of regents in their January meeting, and construction began in July. Bruce Cotgreave, director of the physical plant, is in charge of the project and explained the changes. “We are renovating the whole first floor of the Lynn Library, the mall area between the library and the CUB and the complete second floor of the College Union Building,” Cotgreave said. Along with the new student commons area, students can expect new restrooms for men and women, new lighting and new fixtures to complement the new space on the first floor of the library.  Cotgreave elaborated on additional changes that include a “smaller version of the Tutoring Center and a smaller version of the Career Center” that still will be available to students after the renovation. Wide open spaces and the addition of Wi-Fi charging stations in the library will transform the area into a “more comfortable area to study, to collaborate with students,” Cotgreave said. The outside mall area will receive updates to its seating arrangements and a wider porch for student to pass through the area.  Previous AC students familiar with the mall area will recall the old system and exposed aggregate Read more [...]

Students share thoughts on construction

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Students thoughts on construction

Christie Rankin reports on the latest construction project at AC.

Construction in Byrd and Parcells to end in summer

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Construction 2
Retention of information is lower due to constant interruptions of construction in the Byrd Business Building and Parcells Hall, and people want to know when it is expected to end. According Physical Plant Director Bruce Cotgreave, Byrd and Parcells are expected to be echoing with construction noises until late this summer. “Most of the loudest noise is over within Byrd,” Cotgreave said. “There will continue to be a little under Parcells Hall, but it won’t last long. We have had meetings and are working with the department heads to try to work around class schedules.” Although it is obnoxious to listen to, it is important that the construction be completed because the new area in Byrd will house the business office, currently in the Student Services Center. The college relations and purchasing offices also will move. They will relocate to a newly constructed area on the first floor of Parcells Hall. Those moves will allow the financial aid office to expand into the area where the business office is located. Construction noise permeates the air in Byrd and Parcells. It drowns out the voices of professors and interrupts discussion groups. Both students and faculty members find the sound of drilling and hammering a distraction. Jason Carreon, a computer information systems major, said that sometimes it’s harder to learn because students can’t hear the professors speak clearly over the noise. That thought was echoed by other students dealing with the same problem. In the Byrd building, an epicenter of activity Monday through Thursday for business, computer science, governmental studies and engineering, the racket robs students and teachers of valuable learning and teaching opportunities.In Parcells Hall, where students study audio and video production, broadcasting, news reporting, photography and graphic design, the construction sounds interfere with recording, teaching, thinking and interacting within the classroom. Don Abel, an assistant Read more [...]

Project, plans underway at all six AC campuses

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Photo by Joshua Wagner
BY LINDA CORTEZ Ranger Reporter   Construction, renovations and project planning are underway on all Amarillo College campuses this semester. Out of a $68.3 million construction bond, AC still has about $23 million to wrap up the ongoing projects, including the soon-to-be Everett and Mabel McDougal Hinkson Memorial Campus in Hereford, which is scheduled to be complete in Hereford by spring 2014. “The expansion of Amarillo College is vital to its continued growth,” said Donovan Cook, a psychology major. “Not only will the renovations and additions interest prospective students, it will be a great asset to the community as a whole.” In response to the continual growth in population and a demand for higher education, AC now has campuses in Hereford and Dumas. “By having extension campuses, we are making the possibility of a college degree accessible to a larger population and graduates will have Amarillo College to thank for that,” said Bruce Cotgreave, physical plant director. “AC has been a real leader and an innovator in terms of branch campuses,”said John Hicks, chairman of the board of regents. “The renovations are intended to enrich the learning experience of Amarillo College students and will allow the college to better facilitate its growing population in Amarillo and surrounding communities in means of square footage but, most importantly, advanced equipment.” Renovations to the allied health building on the West Campus is scheduled to be complete this month. Hicks said the regents are excited to see the beginning of phase two of the construction projects. “We’ve got mostly everybody moving back in the next two weeks in radiology and into a new pharmacy area,” he said. “Our projects are moving right along.” A complete renovation of the Byrd Business Building on the Washington Street Campus is scheduled to be complete in six to eight weeks and the music building should be complete Read more [...]

Bonds fund construction

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Local taxpayers approve projects years in advance By Austin Mcwhorter With Amarillo College's budget being cut back by the state, it can be difficult to understand how and why construction and other projects still are in full swing on some campuses. "The money probably didn't come from the students," said Cain Sanchez, a criminal justice major. The money did not come from the students. General obligation bonds, voted on by Amarillo taxpayers, provide funding for construction and renovation projects on AC campuses. The college does not receive state funding to keep facilities up to date and in good repair, so in November 2007, taxpayers within the Amarillo Junior College District voted on and passed a $68 million bond issue. As a result of the vote, Amarillo property owners were dealt a tax increase of about 0.027 percent. "This tax increase pays for the bonds that fund general obligation bonds, which does not go into the general operating revenue of the college," said Terry Berg, vice president of business affairs. "That's why construction is still going after we received budget cuts; they are two different revenue streams." Before the construction projects began, AC had to select an architecture firm and a construction manager at risk to handle building projects funded by the approved bond. The college sent out requests for qualifications, and companies replied with presentations on how projects would be completed. The AC board of regents chose the bidder they believed would do the best job. Page & Associates was chosen for the job as the CMR, and architects from Shiver-Megert & Associates were contracted. The college handles the fiscal side of projects by having the CMR look over architects' drawings to quote an estimated cost, Berg said. After completion of a project, if costs exceed the initial quote, the money will come directly from the company's pocket. If they do the job for less, AC is charged the actual cost of Read more [...]
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