When the new Advanced Technology Center opens on Central/Mohler Campus winter quarter, hundreds of students will take their hands-on learning to a new level.
Covering more than 51,629 square feet, the two-story facility will house Bates Technical College’s engineering, information technology and digital media programs, with unique features built to provide real-world learning opportunities around every corner.
“The new space is much larger than our former space at the Downtown Campus,” says Mechanical Engineering instructor Curt Meyer. “It will allow for more opportunities to offer hands-on learning exercises in the classroom. I’m also eager to gain spaces for lecture, lab and independent study, which will allow me to separate groups within the program and provide instruction without disturbing other groups,” he says, adding that his first task will be to evaluate the space, and plan for equipment purchases that will improve the delivery of the program.
The building boasts flexible and adaptable learning and community spaces that include an auditorium, meeting spaces, new administrative support and educational spaces, including a Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) classroom, general education classrooms, a Learning Resource Center and Student Support Services that will shape the learning landscape programs at Central/Mohler Campus offers.
Katie Glaser, who begins her second-quarter as a student in the Information Technology Specialist program in winter, eagerly awaits the transition to the new location. “What excites me the most about moving is the tremendous learning opportunities for the students,” she says. “Not only will we disassemble our current classroom, but, even more importantly, we will be setting up the new classroom with computers, servers, printers, and work areas. This experience will be invaluable.”
Glaser’s instructor, Emmett Peterson, adds the students are excited to move for a number of reasons.
“The opportunity to be involved with the design and deployment of new and current industry equipment and technologies is the number one reason,” says Peterson. “Students are also excited to be in a new building with new furniture and an enhanced learning environment. Because the server room is glass, and open for all to see, students are excited to be able to showcase their skills as people walk by,” he says.
The move, he says, will allow the program to focus and expand curriculum targeted to new skill sets related to unified solutions and system management. “This new space is the first step in creating a new integrated information systems department at the college,” says Peterson.
The most noticeable building feature may be the iconic green screens of the large studio lab, visible from 19th street. While the Digital Media program will mostly use this space, it doubles as a trade show and community meeting area.
The three-camera, high-definition studio is fitted with equipment found in major TV studios. Eager to explore ways to connect with community, Digital Media instructor Brian Parker explains that with this added TV studio, there is a possibility to create and host a series of talks similar in style to TEDTalks.
But before we get too far, Parker says, “The first goal will be to get acclimated to our new digs, figure out a process for equipment check-in and check-out, then, the students will needs to learn the new equipment.”
The students are most eager to move into a larger space. “We have so many productions, that it’s challenging to have breakout sessions, do photography, and conduct interviews—we now have enough space to do that,” says Parker. “In the other space, I shared a studio with the Broadcasting/Video Production program, PCTV and KBTC, now I have a dedicated studio with 1,500 square feet, which makes scheduling much easier,” he adds.
The double-height studio is a flexible space, equipped with a vertically-sliding door that opens the space to the adjacent lobby, making it a desirable area for the public to reserve for trade shows, meetings or parties.
Another unique feature of the building is the interactive “cube” that occupies the center of the ground floor public area, which will feature student-produced work. Just down the hallway, past the studio lab is the data center. The two-story glass enclosure turns a typically back-of-house element into one of the key building features on the main hallway.
The space is compartmentalized to secure mission-critical equipment from educational equipment. Instructors and students will have physical access to several racks that serve the programs within the building, allowing them to interact with and manipulate systems and programming within those spaces.
IT instructor Peterson notes, “Once we have moved into the new building, the top priority will be to set up the student-supported network. This network is integral to student learning and skill advancement. Students will participate in designing, configuring and deploying new servers and network services,” he says. “This network will support the Information Technology Specialist, Computer Networking Systems Technician, and Electronic and Communications System Technology programs to give students valuable hands-on experience,” concludes Peterson.
The award-winning building achieves the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) gold rating, and offers a high-level performance with low environmental footprint.