NCCC just completed a Facility Master Plan for the College.

What, may you ask, is a facility master plan? Well let me tell you. A facility master plan is an architecturally developed overview of what the physical facilities on the Chanute campus could look like in the future. The reason why we wanted to have a plan in place was to respond to the current and future needs of the College’s faculty, staff, students and patrons in a deliberate, planned manner instead of in a willy-nilly, hodgepodge approach.

The College will be using the plan as a tool for managing the growth and change occurring as we strive to meet our mission. The plan summarizes where we want to be in five, ten or even twenty years in the future and provides direction of how we can get there from the perspective of our facilities.

We have been very deliberate in the process we used to develop the plan. The Master Facility Plan Steering Committee asked three architectural firms to present their companies approach to doing the plan. The College selected the team of Bartlett &West from Lawrence and Places Architect from Wichita.

Starting in October, the team of architects held focus groups with students, faculty, staff, community, city officials, and the administration. They also encouraged individuals to provide additional information through on-line surveys. Lots and lots and lots of information was gathered from all types of constituents.

Underpinning the preliminary concepts for the campus that the architects presented to the college was their interpretation of what they heard through their information gathering. For instance, establishing an obvious “front door” to the campus was important to put in the facility plan. It seems that most people cannot find where to go when they first arrive on campus, since all of the buildings face inward and the backs of the buildings face outward to the public.

Another issue was the scattered placement of the College’s student services and support functions. Students shared how they needed to go to three different buildings to apply, get assessed, register and pay their bills. The architects suggested consolidating all of these functions into one new building. The architects also learned that our Fine Arts and Humanities venues were antiquated and not as functional as needed in this high tech environment. So they are suggesting in the plan an addition to Sanders Hall, plus a renovation of the auditorium.

Renovating the Rowland building so the whole building could be devoted to Nursing and Allied Health was also high on the architects’ facility master plan. The architects also felt that the physical education/fitness facility needed to be expanded since the current facility is used from six in the morning until ten at night.

Lastly, the architects suggested a new classroom building to house the instructional space for our sustainable energy curriculums including the new Energy Management certificate/degree and the Sustainable Energy Installer certificate/degree. Speaking of “green” and the environment, they also suggested a plan for solving the drainage/standing water problem on campus.

If you want to see an overview of the Facility Master Plan you can go to the College’s web home page at www.neosho.edu and click on the link entitled “Facility Master Plan” under the News section. The link will also show the renderings of some of the new buildings and additions.

We are very excited about the plan and how it will provide guidance for any new facilities or renovations to the current facilities. Now, bet you are thinking, “Great, but how are they going to pay for these changes?” Never fear, we will not be asking the taxpayers to ante up any monies. Rather, we are working (as I am writing this column) on grant proposals to foundations to raise part of the monies we will need. Specifically we are working on identifying foundations and individuals who we believe may be interested in supporting the construction of the Eco-Energy Classroom Building as well as the Fine Arts/Cultural addition to Sanders Hall.

By the way, if you are particularly intrigued by the plan or a part of the plan and would like to discuss with me how you might personally help see it happen (i.e. donate funds to help build it), by all means give me a call at 620-431-2820 ext. 299. I would be happy to talk with you!

I hope once you see the plan you will be as excited as we are.

As always, I welcome any questions or comments at vsmith@neosho.edu.

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