More than 100 community members, including county and government leaders, business representatives, and college supporters joined South Piedmont Community College (SPCC) on August 31 for a ribbon cutting and open house of SPCC’s new Main Building on the Old Charlotte Highway campus in Monroe. The event was hosted by the Union County Chamber of Commerce.
The three-story building boasts 75,000 square feet which includes classrooms, science labs, student activity and gathering areas, administrative offices, learning support and advising spaces, a contemporary library, and an expansive campus store.
The $22 million dollar facility was funded through the $40.2 million dollar General Obligation Bond approved for the college by Union County residents in 2016. Additional funds from the bond were earmarked to renovate three additional buildings and to construct another facility in Western Union County.
According to Dr. Maria Pharr, president at SPCC, the building plan began 12 years ago under the presidency of John McKay but the funding was not available until the 2016 bond. With the help of Morris-Berg Architects and Clancy and Theys Construction the vision has become reality.
“This collaborative effort brings a much needed facility to South Piedmont that better serves the way students learn today,” said Dr. Pharr. “It demonstrates our commitment to putting the student’s experience first.”
Prior to the new building, student services were scattered across multiple areas and gathering places for students were limited. But the new space on the first floor promotes student life, collaborative learning, and gives students easy access to the services they need to succeed.
“As a student, this building gives me the opportunity to learn and grow,” said Carolina Rotela, SPCC student. “I see far more students connecting on a daily basis in this building than before.”
Tours during the open house highlighted new spaces but also featured new technology which compliments and expands the learning impacts of the new facility on student success.
“Although we are celebrating the physical aspects of this building at this location, we are also celebrating how, with this building, we are tearing down barriers for students,” explained Dr. Malinda Daniel, project manager at SPCC.
South Piedmont launched its new mobile app SPCC Navigate last month which brings a wayfinding system to help students navigate the campuses and buildings. It also assists students with making the most of their time by providing a virtual appointment setting system so students no longer have to wait in lines. In addition, the building is home to new VR technology that allows students to virtually visit other countries and learn about other cultures from locals. Students will also find new laptop kiosks where they can check out laptops any time.
“This is not the same campus 14-year-old me walked onto in early college,” said Rotela. “South Piedmont has entered its Renaissance.”