HUNTSVILLE, Ala. - Calhoun Community College's campus in Huntsville welcomed back new students Monday. A new building also opened to students who have math and science classes there.
It's the biggest part of the growing two-year community college's expansion project in Huntsville, and as you can see from the adjacent photo, gives the campus greater exposure from the road. You can see the new building across from the U.S. Space & Rocket Center on I-565.
Campus Director Mark Branon said, "It's pride. I take pride in what we do here at Calhoun."
He said the building is full of something that was desperately needed before it opened: space.
"There is just as much lab space in this building as there is classroom space," he said, noting the two chemistry labs, two physics labs, two anatomy/physiology labs, two biology labs ,one microbiology lab, one biochemistry lab, and three computer science labs that fill the building, along with 11 traditional classrooms.
These labs and classrooms are full of technology needed for teaching and learning, said Branon, and he's proud that it meets industry standards.
"It's very important in education that we mimic as best we can, the actual working environment students will see," he said, explaining that the goal is to prepare students for the highly-skilled workforce of this area. "We want to make sure we are responsive to those needs."
There's also a safety element in the building. A tornado shelter capable of holding more than 1,000 people is on the bottom level.
There are still some walkways and parts of the quad that need to be finished outside for students to enjoy.
Students said Monday they were impressed with the building after having class inside.
"It's gorgeous on the inside and the outside," commented Kyle Vellacott-Ford, who has been with Calhoun for several years. He's currently pursuing a career in nursing, and has seen the construction from start to finish. "It's worth the wait," he said. "I'm excited to spend time in this building, for once. It's going to be nice to actually want to go to class!"
It's been a long time getting to this point. The construction came with some inconvenience, including road closure, as Wynn Drive was reworked for the Calhoun addition.