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Westmoreland

WCCC to move forward with renovations

By 2020, nearly everything at Westmoreland County Community College could look different, from the Founders Hall facade to classrooms and the school’s logo.

WCCC trustees approved updates to the college’s master plan Wednesday that will guide the school through renovating, converting and expanding spaces in virtually every area of the main campus near Youngwood.

Jason Henault, an associate with Glens Falls, N.Y.,-based JMZ Architects and Planners, presented proposed changes to trustees, including:

• Building an addition onto Founders Hall to house the new Student Success Center and Enrollment Center and reconfiguring space to create student lounges and relocate and expand offices for faculty and staff. The library will be altered to establish collaborative space for students separate from quiet study areas.

• Building an addition onto Science Hall for labs and allowing faculty offices to be relocated and expanded.

• Adding new and better signs and lighting around campus, particularly near the entrance.

• Creating a simulation suite for nursing students, relocate nursing offices and expand the Learning Assistance Center for nursing students in Commissioners Hall.

A timeline included with the plans shows most work scheduled to be complete by 2020.

“This is intended to be a living document” as priorities and funding changes, Henault said.

A second phase of transformation for Founders Hall, slated for 2022 to 2025, would create additional student lounges and study rooms, relocate the fitness center and weight rooms and generate classroom space.

“This is a very ambitious plan,” said board Chairman Larry Larese. “These investments have to be made. I think we’re all excited moving forward.”

Some funding for the projects will come from the college’s capital campaign, which raised more than $31 million for a new Latrobe Center and the creation of the Advanced Technology Center in East Huntingdon. Last month trustees approved borrowing up to $43 million through a bond issue to finance remaining projects.

As part of a separate branding and marketing effort by Nebraska-based consultant Clarus and the WCCC communications staff, the school adopted a new logo that no longer features the WCCC’s iconic pavilion. The new “wordmark” shows the words “Westmoreland” and “College” in large, bold letters.

Trustees voted Wednesday to permanently close the Mon-Valley Education Center, which had been shuttered this semester because of low enrollment. College officials announced in December they were working to accommodate the 80 students registered for classes at the campus on Fells Church Road in Rostraver for the spring semester.

Stephen Lippiello, vice president for administrative services, said officials made painstaking efforts to look for ways to keep the center open, including moving to a new location, but costs exceeded projected revenue for the satellite campus.

“We did not see a long-term future for the Mon-Valley Center,” he said.

WCCC President Tuesday Stanley said the college still plans to be part of the community there but that it could no longer support a satellite location so close to the main campus.

Stanley said there are no plans to shutter any other education centers.

Kari Andren is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach her at 724-850-2856 or [email protected].


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