As a result of Parkland’s growth, the original space allocated for student activities has been converted to instructional areas or office space, and the student services offices and bookstore were distributed throughout the campus where space permitted. The space allocated for student service areas has not been sufficient or efficient for many years. Students wishing to see a counselor must wait in a hallway; academic advisors are dispensing academic advice in a “bull pen” environment; students waiting to see a financial aid advisor wait in the same hallway that connects the washroom to the main hall; and the current instructional kitchen for the Hospitality program is also used by campus food services. The need for space that will ensure student confidentiality as well as adequate space for staff to process records, advise students, and maintain a professional work environment is critical. Furthermore, there is no meeting space to facilitate new student orientation, staff development, and other student development activities, such as meetings of clubs and organizations or campus speakers. Student functions such as orientation, club or organization meetings, recreation, or socializing often are conducted in the open areas or X-wing of the college center; group staff development activities often need to be conducted “off-site.”
The proposed 95,140 gross square feet facility will provide space for:
• Admissions, Records and Recruitment Offices, including International Student Services
• Adult Re-entry Center
• Student Support Services Offices
• Career Center Offices and Student Resource Room
• Assessment Center
• Counseling and Advising Offices
• Disability Services Offices
• Financial Aid Offices
• Student Life Offices
• Instructional Kitchen for Hospitality Program
• Food Service/Snack Bar Area
• Meeting Space
• Multi-use Lounge
• Open-use Computer Lab
• Support Area - additional space for maintenance supplies/functions and an alternate loading dock for central receiving.
• Fitness and Athletics
The Student Services Center would enable the College to achieve at least two goals stated in its Operational Plan. One goal is to develop the highest educational standards for the delivery of quality instruction. The second goal is to develop services to meet the needs of its increasingly diverse population.
The proposed facility will house the student services necessary to recruit, admit, orient, advise, register, and assess and equip students in a centralized area. Locating facilities and services such as the bookstore and TRiO Student Support Services in a centralized area will allow for more efficient traffic flow during busy registration times. Furthermore, there are only five classroom areas on campus that can accommodate more than 50 persons. As a result of this space shortage, lectures, programs, and presentations are erratically and infrequently scheduled, making it difficult for students to take advantage of rich resources and experts in the surrounding community. This problem is compounded by the increasing desire for students and faculty to gather for meetings and conferences. The proposed facility will alleviate many of these problems by providing additional large group meeting areas.
At the heart of every institution of higher education is a place where students can collect for studying, dining, recreation, activities, networking, and friendship. The proposed facility will provide an area for students to gather without overcrowding the X-wing area of the college. The food service area has been inadequate since the construction of the college. While remodeling has created a “place” for students to sit and eat, student-dining options are severely limited. Furthermore, campus food services must use the hospitality program instructional kitchen to prepare food for campus events. A well-designed facility--both preparation area and dining area--would not only be an excellent addition for students and staff, but would provide a high-quality laboratory and training area for students in our hospitality and restaurant management programs.
The Student Services Center also will enable the College to achieve the instructional goal of integrating and utilizing information technology to enhance learning. The current plans include additional student computer laboratory space. These plans also include areas in which students have access to computers that are student services based. Currently, many of the departments have “scratched” out space to accommodate computers for student use. For example, the Financial Aid office has computers in the hallway on which students are assisted in completing federal financial aid applications online; the Career Center provides online services for job searches and resume consultation. Since these student service functions are scattered across the campus, students must move from office to office to obtain the information they need. In addition, the college supports online registration and other online student services, such as ordering transcripts, obtaining schedules and grades, and completing degree audits via the Internet. Kiosks made available for student use will centralize these functions, allowing for better integration and more efficient use of computer technology.
Another area of Student Services not addressed in the current RAMP document is the Athletics Department. The gymnasium and fitness center facilities provide instructional space for the college’s growing enrollment in kinesiology programs, such as sports management, exercise physiology, and athletic training, but also support the college’s intercollegiate athletics program and college-wide wellness programming. The deferred maintenance and current inadequate facilities compromise the ability of faculty and coaches to build quality programs and remain competitive in their respective disciplines, and minimize the capacity to provide certain types of student and staff development programming.