Western Celebrates Opening Of New Student Success Center

Years of planning, four months of construction, and thousands of hours of labor are the best ways to describe the process for remodeling one of Western Technical College’s most important buildings.

On Monday, October 7, the final vision was unveiled to the public—a $5.7 million renovation of Western’s Student Success Center, a building designed to help students succeed on campus. The project significantly upgrades the facility, which was built in 1995, creating an open concept for college staff to interact with students. The first floor of the new space includes the Welcome Center, Learner Support and Transition, Assessment Center, and Veterans Military Center.

Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes on a tour of the new building with Western President Roger Stanford and WTCS President Morna Foy.

“The new Student Success Center is specifically designed to provide students a positive first experience with Western,” said Western President Roger Stanford. “We believe in every student, every day, and that success with support, is success.”

Creating a sense of belonging was critical to the overall design of the project. Since Western launched its strategic plan, Experience 2025, the college’s goal has been to become a college of first-choice. Western administration said this project was critical to that goal.

“With that goal in mind we wanted a space where students feel welcomed with a sense of belonging,” said Stanford.

The second floor of the space is designed for continuing student and retention services, which includes the Learning Commons; Counseling; Access Services; Career Services; and Equity, Inclusion, and Community Engagement. Western’s food pantry, the Cavalier Cupboard, was also moved inside the building.

“This building is the physical manifestation of a transformation and a promise come true,” said Cooper Richason, Student Body President at Western, who also serves on the Wisconsin Technical College System (WTCS) board. “This is a change and a promise to always put our students first.”

Lieutenant Governor Mandela Barnes, who also attended Monday’s ribbon cutting ceremony, echoed those remarks. Since becoming the state’s first African American Lieutenant Governor in history, he has championed student support services for college students, especially those historically underserved. He, along with Governor Tony Evers, increased funding to the WTCS during the last budget cycle, ensuring further support for technical colleges throughout the state.

“This is such a great day for Western,” said Stanford. “We truly believe these changes will enhance the student experience at Western, and help all students reach their goals. We couldn’t be more proud of this space.”

Richason says the space will create a lasting impact on students for years to come.

“Thank you to everyone who made this happen,” said Richason. “This building is going to change lives.”