Genesee Community College’s new Student Success Center and Richard C. Call Arena are finished with construction just in time for the start of the academic year and the 50th anniversary.
The dual construction project of the new facilities began last spring, costing $25 million. Donna Rae Sutherland, the associate director of Marketing Communications, said more than $5 million was raised by the community.
“We’re very proud, grateful and pleased to have this new space available for community use, as well as student use,” Sutherland said.
The 18,478-square-foot Student Success Center is an addition of the Technology building, becoming the new “front door” of the campus.
Sutherland said the plan was to take all of the student services and bring them in a more cohesive place. The new building is home to GCC’s success coaches, staff members who are specifically trained and assigned to designated students to assist them throughout their entire academic career. These coaches assist students from the first phase of admissions, financial aid and academic advisement, through the process of earning their degrees, graduation, or helping them transfer or secure career placement.
“A few months ago, Financial Aid was in one part of the building, Admissions is across the hallway and down a little bit, the Career Services is on another floor,” Sutherland said. “We had all these student services in one building, which is great, but then you have to climb the stairs and find them. People weren’t sure where to start.”
Having offices in different parts of buildings was hampering student success, Sutherland said.
“The Student Success Center is a model that we think is going to become something other colleges may be interested in,” Sutherland said. “Maybe it will become a model for the nation.”
Now that the old space is vacated, the next step is to repurpose that space for student success and need, Sutherland said.
Shelitha Williams, the associate vice president of Student Services, said students are excited about the new center because of “the idea that their experience is now streamlined. They don’t have to go to five offices, they have seven departments now under one roof.”
The coaches will proactively introduce themselves and identify themselves as a resource to the students of GCC.
“What sets us aside is the intentional engagement, instead of reacting to students' concerns,” Williams said.
The new Richard C. Call Arena is located on the west side of the Batavia Campus and is not connected to the main building. Sutherland said the new facility is the largest, open, flexible floor space in the GLOW region. The 45,000-square-foot arena will be open to the community to rent for events, but the student need will come first.
“We talked to the people in the community and it was recognized that there’s not really a big events center,” Sutherland said.
Some of the athletics were moved into the new building, while some are in the main building. They are currently working out the logistics of being able to rent out the facility in order to make the public space available.
“We are just getting ready to open up the facilities towards other types of events,” Sutherland said. “Anything from a home show, to a tractor show, to a coin show, to all kinds of public events. Whatever a convention center might offer in Buffalo or Rochester, we will be looking for the same.”
There may be some limitations due to it being a college campus, but they are open to different events.
The first big public event in the new Richard C. Call Arena will be on Sept. 23. The Genesee Symphony Orchestra will put on a special concert with new music. The concert is free and will be open to the public.
Photos above taken by Maria Pericozzi.
Photo above provided by Donna Rae Sutherland.