NORFOLK, NE – A 2017 Master Site and Facilities Plan (MSFP) developed for Northeast Community College indicated that the Norfolk campus is in need of additional student study, academic support, and student health space, among other services. The plan identified the existing Student Center building as a facility that could accommodate those services, in addition to relocating the College’s Service (technology) Center, Library-Resource Center, Business Services and data center.
On Thursday, the Northeast Board of Governors unanimously endorsed a statement to forward information on the proposed addition and renovation of the center to the Nebraska Coordinating for Commission for Postsecondary Education for its consideration and approval.
Additional space in the Student Center opened up in 2016 when the Hawks Spot cafeteria moved across campus to the new Hawks Point dining facility.
Lynne Koski, vice president of administrative services, said the proposed project would relocate many student-focused programs and services that are currently scattered across the Norfolk campus. She said the improvements come at a good time as the 34-year-old facility is in need of major repairs and renovation.
“The existing Student Center building was identified in the MSFP as one of the facilities in the greatest need of renovation and repairs to its aging exterior, electrical systems and accessibility. We studied space deficiencies and staffing adjacencies across campus and determined that the expansion of the Student Center will allow Northeast to provide much needed space to meet these needs.”
This project is designed to create a more centralized location for student services, while strengthening staff efficiencies.
The renovated and expanded space will permit the College to create a facility that serves two primary student service functions. Not only will students be able to obtain needed academic support services through the library and a learning commons area, they will also be able to have their technology needs addressed by staff in the new Service Center. The project will also create added space for existing student activities areas, the College store, food service and dining areas.
Amanda Nipp, vice-president of student services said, “The Student Center is located in the center of campus and is situated on one of the major pedestrian thoroughfares, and therefore is a destination for thousands of students, faculty and staff.”
“The renovated and expanded building will allow students to find places to relax, and enjoy and engage with fellow students in social or community service activities, student leadership opportunities or clubs.”
Completion of this project would open up areas in the College’s Maclay building, Library-Resource Center and the College Welcome Center. Areas that would be vacated by centralizing programs and services in these buildings will be repurposed for advising services, academic spaces and larger conference and event gathering space for student and college-based functions as identified in the Master Site and Facilities Plan.
Dr. Michael Chipps, president, said the Student Center project has been established on the creation of essential living-learning spaces to better ensure student success.
“Today’s students desire to be actively engaged in their college experience, and the Student Center addition and renovation will provide a collaborative and technology-based environment for students to do just that. By providing additional space and surrounding students with various amenities, we see them congregating in this location, rather than leaving the Norfolk campus to study and recreate elsewhere.”
Chipps said by centralizing student services, extending the hours of accessibility, and providing student-focused operations, Northeast students will have a space that solidifies the campus experience.
“This student-centered facility will become the ‘living room’ of the Norfolk campus. Through our Vision 2020 strategic plan that focuses on student success and access as its top goals, we are intentional in creating spaces that emanate a pedestrian-based, living-learning community ambiance.”