New HCC campus offers innovative opportunities for West Houston community
Feb 4, 2016
Innovation, collaboration, and dedication illustrate what is happening inside the new and improved Alief-Hayes Campus at Houston Community College (HCC). The renovated third level, with the sun beaming through the atrium, was the setting for the very first ribbon cutting ceremony under the $425 million HCC Groundbreaker Bond Program.
“This is one of the most satisfying moments and experiences during my tenure on the HCC Board-- to see the third and fourth floors completed,” said Neeta Sane, HCC Board of Trustees, District VII. “This is for the community; this is for the students.”
Sane, along with fellow trustees, John P. Hansen, Ph.D., District VI; Vice Chair Robert Glaser, District V; and Dave Wilson, District II joined HCC Chancellor Cesar Maldonado, Ph.D., P.E. and HCC Northwest President Zachary Hodges, Ed.D. in thanking the packed crowd of community leaders, faculty, staff, and students for their commitment to making the campus a “model for higher education."
“We want this to be an organic learning environment, project-based learning, active learning where students are trying new things, building new things, risking and failing in a supportive environment,” said Dr. Hodges.
The supportive environment includes the build out of the first, third, and fourth floors. The first floor has a new centralized Student Services Department, Financial Aid Department, and Advising Suite. The third floor includes 70,000 square feet for active learning classrooms, Center for Entrepreneurship, and Film and Visual Arts Programs under the Media Arts & Technology Center of Excellence. Dr. Hodges revealed that HCC is working with the Houston Mayor’s Film Task Force and Houston Film Commission to bring filmmakers to the campus.
The fourth floor houses Allied Health and academic programs, along with labs, and faculty and staff offices. The second floor houses the Houston Engineering Center and UT-Tyler Engineering program.
“We want learning to occur on all four floors of this campus,” said Dr. Hodges.
Trustee Hansen is a newcomer to the HCC Board of Trustees, but has a deep-rooted history with the West Houston community. He served on the board of the Alief Independent School District for 22 years and has seen the campus change over the years.
“The renovations make very good use of available space we had on third and fourth floors,” said Dr. Hansen. “I do believe that we finally have a real facility that can support the mission of student success in this area.”
An impressed Trustee Glaser shared his heartfelt appreciation for everyone involved in the project.
He said, “I know every single one of you has a story related to the success here. It’s really overwhelming to see you all here to celebrate this monumental occasion to open an opportunity to the community through the education we provide here at HCC.”
Trustee Wilson drew in laughs when he pulled out a slide ruler as a symbol of inevitable change and explained how HCC is changing with the times to meet the needs of tomorrow.
“The 21st century is different both in the workplace and in the classroom,” said Chancellor Maldonado. “What we have here in this building with this ribbon cutting is a new attitude that we are going to see expanded to scale in the West Houston Institute.”
The West Houston Institute is the next chapter in the growth of the Alief-Hayes Campus. Construction for the state-of-the-art STEM facility is set to be completed in early 2017.
For information on all the projects under the HCC Groundbreaker Bond Program, visit hccs.edu/bond.