This summer, one of Western Technical College’s most important buildings is getting a much-needed facelift.
The Academic Resource and Welcome Center, which has served as the central student hub since 1995, is undergoing a $5.7 million remodeling project over the summer. The project, which is expected to be complete by the fall, will dramatically shift the student experience at Western.
Perhaps most notable to students and parents will be the open concept inside the building. The walls dividing the various departments inside will be gone; in its place are wide spaces for college staff to interact with students. Staff spaces will be opened up to provide better opportunities for collaboration, communication, and cross-functional service to students. Additional guest parking and outdoor seating will be available as well.
“Rather than being shuffled down hallways to meet with college staff, staff will come to students and visitors in the lounge area of the Welcome Center,” said Amy Thornton, vice president of Student Service and Engagement at Western. “Staff will meet with students in spaces that are located up front in the Welcome Center to take advantage of natural light, comfortable seating, and access to technology.”
The Welcome Center, Learner Support and Transition, Assessment Center, and Veterans Center will be available on the first floor of the remodeled space. The building will be renamed the Student Success Center.
“The redesign lends itself to providing easy access to services for prospective students and visitors to the College by locating these services on the first floor,” said Thornton. “This allows our coaches and advisors to be engaged in building relationships with students, and to help and support them on a more personal level. It is no longer only about checking the boxes of admissions and enrollment, but recognizing that the enrollment journey is unique for each and every student.”
The second floor of the building will shift to focus on continuing student and retention services, which includes the Learning Commons, Counseling, Access and Language Services, Career Services, and Equity, Inclusion, and Engagement. The project is designed to reflect a new student model at Western, one that’s focused on providing first choice service to students.
“We are implementing a relationship owner model that focuses on hospitality, outreach, and coaching for prospective students; and advising and retention services for current students,” said Thornton. “We want a space where students feel welcomed, and feel like they belong.”
Thornton says that sense of belonging was critical to the overall design of the project.
“With the vision of being the College of first choice in the region, the new Student Success Center is a space created to provide students with their first positive face-to-face experience with Western,” said Thornton.
In the end, however, the project all comes down to student success.
“We believe in every student, every day, and that success with support, is success,” said Thornton. “This space is truly about student success.”
The Student Success Center is expected to be open by the beginning of the fall term. In the meantime, several student services are in temporary locations this summer. For a full list of those locations, visit www.westerntc.edu.