PENDLETON — The Student Success Center, set to open in January, is the first new building on Tri-County Technical College’s Pendleton Campus in two decades.
College Commission Chair John Powell, who is owner of Powell Real Estate and a graduate of Tri-County, says many alumni haven’t been back on campus in decades and the Jan. 12 ribbon cutting/dedication ceremony for the new Student Success Center is the perfect opportunity to visit and tour the new facility.
The three-story, 75,000-square-foot building is designed intentionally to be open and accessible and dedicated to student support, engagement and learning.
The $42-million project includes a Learning Commons, flexible meeting spaces, computer labs, group study areas, tutoring spaces, the College Café, Campus Store, Printing Services, IT, Service Desk and Student Development.
“We want alumni to feel a part of the College and joining us at this ceremony is one way to reconnect with their alma mater,” said Powell, who graduated from Tri-County in 1972 with a degree in Business Technology/Marketing and a strong desire to spread the word about a college which gave him career direction.
“Now is a good time to come back. The success of our graduates is the reason Tri-County is successful today,” said Powel, who, as a realtor in Oconee County, says he often runs into folks he went to college with in the 1970’s as well as others, who say they haven’t been back on campus since they graduated. “Now is a great time. I’d love for them to see this unbelievable new facility dedicated to students and their success.”
Tri-County Technical College broke ground on Sept. 16, 2016.
“This is a milestone day in the history of our College,” said President Ronnie L. Booth at the ceremony to a crowd of county officials, legislators, community partners, faculty, staff and students who crowded into Fulp Plaza.
The project also includes a complete renovation of Ruby Hicks Hall and the installation of a central chiller plant and chilled water loop.
The Student Success Center is a key component of Tri-County Technical College’s strategy to increase student success, reduce long-term maintenance costs and address double-digit enrollment growth, school officials said.
“Student support facilities were built 25 or more years ago and are designed to accommodate about 3,500 students. The College now serves around 5,000 students at the Pendleton Campus. Currently students sit in the halls to study and are cramped into nooks and crannies all over campus,” said Booth. “Our current café is woefully inadequate to meet students’ needs. There is very little place for them to work on team projects and study together. This Center will increase space allocated to students and their academic support.”
Booth called the building “essential” to help students learn how to work in groups and teams to problem solve in today’s workforce.
“The Student Success Center is important to achieve our mission and fundamental to delivering a transformative student experience and an investment in our students’ success,” he said.
Senator Lindsey Graham stated the project is “a big commitment” — with the biggest benefactor being the students.
“Tri-County is so relevant today — that’s why you are growing. But we must find our niche in a changing economy,” he said. “In the next 50 years, our future competitors won’t be China and India — the competition will be between man and machine. Your challenge is to design curricula around the human touch. No machine will hold someone’s hand in hospice care. There will never be a substitute for the human touch.”
Members of county councils and legislative delegations also expressed their support for the Center.
Rep. Gary Clary, Pickens County delegation member, called the Student Success Center “a game changer that in 50 years will be a signal day for the College, the region and the state. I’m proud to be part of state government and a part of the decision making for this center.”
Site prep for the construction got under way this summer, which required the removal of the amphitheater and Clarke and McKissick halls.
The Ruby Hicks renovation will begin in 2018 and will take about a year to complete, officials said. It will include a One Stop Center designed to improve efficiencies and customer service by allowing for co-location of admissions, advising, registration, financial aid, cashier and other enrollment services.
Alumni who are interested in attending the Jan. 12 Student Success Center ribbon-cutting/dedication ceremony should contact Rebecca Eidson at firstname.lastname@example.org.