Photo by JC Amberlyn.
KINGMAN – Michelle Knight sat at a computer in the new $3.6 million Student Services Center at Mohave Community College working on the benefits of skin-to-skin contact after birth for her nursing program.
She’s been using the state-of-the-art education facility since the beginning of the semester, when parts of it were still under construction.
“I’ve always come here to do homework because home is too distracting,” said Knight, the mother of two kids. “Sometimes it helpful having everybody close by so if I have any trouble, there’s somebody right there to ask.”
College officials held a ribbon-cutting and tour of the new student center and renovated campus center Friday, with about 100 faculty and community leaders in attendance.
The 12,500-square-foot Student Services Center is a huge improvement for the MCC Neal Campus and gives it more of a true college look and feel, having replaced modular trailers that previously housed student services and faculty offices.
The new building features a multipurpose room open for public use, student registration, study rooms, computer cubicles, library, reading room, financial aid computers, dean’s office, academic advisors’ offices, staff lounge, testing center and student success center.
Students will be able to use the conference room to work on projects with other MCC students from the Bullhead City and Lake Havasu City campuses.
“From what we’ve heard from students, they’re really excited and ready to get their arms around what they have here,” Kearns said.
The renovated campus center has an even larger community multipurpose room that seats 350, student commons area, café, faculty offices and medical services classroom and teaching laboratory.
“The whole point is to create a new paradigm for the college,” said Neal Jones, principal of Phoenix-based Jones Studio design firm. “Now we have a new ground-up building, new architecture introduced to the area. Hopefully as we move forward, buildings will be replaced by in-kind architecture and set the stage for future architecture.”
Jones said his design was “pretty basic, but it works.” The most active part of the building is the student registration and computing commons, and the activity gets quieter as you move into the study rooms, library and reading room.
He provided plenty of natural lighting through skylights and floor-to-ceiling windows, which will reduce the amount of electricity needed and save the college significantly on utility bills.
“It’s so airy, too,” nursing student Knight said. “Over there (at the old center), you wouldn’t know what’s going on. I like to see the outside. Sometimes it’s a good distraction if you hit a brick wall to take a walk around and clear your head.”
The library was downsized because there aren’t as many books being stacked onto the shelves, as today’s students rely primarily on the internet for much of their research and information.
Randy Cook, president of T.R. Orr, general contractor for the project, said a lot went into developing the new building.
“I did not take the bullets. I’m just standing in for Toby (Orr),” Cook said during the grand-opening program, “but I’ll gladly take the medals. It is unique. It’s got different features you won’t see around here.”
Mohave Community College was established in 1970, with 160 acres of land donated by Leonard and Grace Neal, owners of Neal Ranch.