Thursday, November 14, 2013

MC plans $34.8 million Master Plan expansion

By Rebecca Bell
Dean of Community Relations & Special Events

The Permian Basin is currently undergoing unprecedented growth because of its petroleum and natural gas resources. Seeing the need for increased facilities to accommodate the community’s growth, MC has planned a $34.8 million campus expansion project to be completed in the next 5 to 7 years without a bond issue. Financing will be provided from reserve funds and private donations.

The first phase of the project, which MC President Steve Thomas, Ph.D., projects will be completed by 2015, includes a $12.4 million building for MC’s highly successful early college high school. Over 400 students from the Midland Independent School District are attending Early College High School at Midland College, and the program has outgrown its current facilities, which are housed in a wing of the fine arts building. The planned expansion will allow for a dedicated early college high school building with 16 classrooms, including large labs for chemistry, biology and physics.

Also planned is a $7.8 million dining expansion at the Scharbauer Student Center. Currently the campus has three on-campus dining facilities, one of which is a crowded traditional dining hall. The two other facilities are coffee shops and grills.

“By moving the dining hall to the Scharbauer Student Center, MC will be able to create a true student hub with a real social synergy,” said Parkhill, Smith and Cooper Architect Dan Hart.

The existing dining facility will be renovated into a professional retreat complex, projected to cost $10.4 million In addition to high-tech meeting rooms and classrooms, the facility will feature a 400- to 500-seat auditorium that can be used for corporate events, continuing education training and college-hosted seminars.

The remaining $4.2 million will allow the Petroleum Professional Development Center, which is currently located in downtown Midland and offers exclusive continuing education opportunities for energy industry professionals, to be relocated to the main MC campus.

“The oil and gas industry is very vibrant and training is in high demand. It will be beneficial to bring the oil industry to our campus,” Thomas said.

“We like having the community on our campus. It sells Midland College to our community and so many different constituents.” Thomas continued, “Everything we’re planning is within the scope of our mission—providing university transfer courses, career and technical education programs, continuing education, workforce training and cultural enrichment opportunities. The planned master plan expansion will be able to serve the community in a number of ways.”

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