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HCC opens new $15.9 million STEM facility with observatory and Challenger Learning Center

Jun 13, 2018

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Houston Community College cut the ribbon at its new 37,000- square-foot STEM building on the HCC Southeast College Felix Fraga Academic Campus today. The new facility will allow the Fraga Campus to accommodate an additional 700 students and features an observatory, state-of-the-art classrooms and labs and maritime simulation equipment.

Program offerings will include engineering, maritime logistics, drafting, astronomy, math, physics, and transfer classes. The building will also be the future home of the HCC Challenger Learning Center.

"We are thrilled to see this new building completed and excited about the Challenger Learning Center yet to come," said HCC Chancellor Cesar Maldonado. "What a great honor for HCC and the East End community, and what an incredible opportunity for the thousands of Houston students who will blast off into a journey of space and science exploration here."

The Challenger Learning Center at HCC will join a network of more than 40 Challenger Learning Centers around the globe. Each center is a fully immersive experience, including a Mission Control Room and Space Station where students work with hands-on labs, conduct experiments and analyze data during a Challenger Center Mission. Students learn teamwork, communicate with one another to complete tasks and solve problems when emergencies arise.

Aligned with national education standards and informed by real science data, Challenger Learning Center Missions introduce students to careers in STEM fields and help them build important 21st Century skills.

"Just imagine the futures that await the students who attend here,” said HCC District III Trustee Adriana Tamez. “We are educating the scientists and engineers of tomorrow,".

HCC District VIII Trustee Eva Loredo echoed her colleague's prediction about the impact the new STEM facility and Challenger Learning Center will have. "Felix Fraga has been an inspiration to our community for many years,” she said. “Now, this STEM facility on the campus that bears his name will inspire generations of young people to attend college and pursue pathways to the workforce and four-year universities."

The new $15.9 million STEM facility is part of the 2013 HCC Capital Improvement Program.

Fraga is a product of Houston's Second Ward, where he still resides today. He has worked continuously for BakerRipley since 1946, served on numerous volunteer boards and commissions and is a former Houston City Council member.

In addition to the STEM facility, the Fraga Campus hosts the Houston Independent School District's Middle College High School for at-risk youth and the East Early College High School, which ranks seventh of Houston's 150 high schools and is a National Blue Ribbon School.


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