The Pathways Model is an integrated, institution-wide approach to student success based on intentionally designed, clear, coherent and structured educational experiences. These experiences are informed by available evidence) that guide each student effectively and efficiently from her/his point of entry through to attainment of high-quality postsecondary credentials and careers with value in the labor market.
At College of the Mainland, we are redesigning and reorganizing instruction so that students are not overwhelmed by too many choices, so that similar/related programs are grouped together as meta-majors, and so that the transition from high school to community college - and from community college to the workplace (or fouryear institution) - is facilitated by career planning and clear and structured academic pathways. The master plan will support the pathways initiative by grouping programs together geographically in accordance with the following meta-majors:
• Business and Computer Technology Careers
• Human Service Careers
• Industrial Careers
• Nursing and Allied Health Careers
• Public Service Careers
• Academic Transfer Programs
BUILDING PROGRAM (click to enlarge)
MAKE THE COLLEGE FEEL MORE COLLEGIATE
Prospective students when they dream of going to college they have a vision pulled from all of the colleges they have visited or seen in movies or on TV. These collective experiences create a distinct expectation of the look and feel of being in College. When students come to the. Ill eye of the Mainland there needs to be a sense they have arrived at a place that is better than the High School that they attended. Every initiative in this master plan is focused on elevating the collegiate experience for current and prospective students. Everything from renovating the band hall, branded food service, new way finding signage all the way to brand new purpose built facilities designed to create amazing collegiate experiences for every student at the College of the Mainland.
BUILDING PROGRAM (click to enlarge)
STUDENT SUCCESS BUILDING
This “One Stop Shop” is a critical component to the integration of new and prospective students onto campus. A purpose built facility that allows a prospective student to walk in, enroll, sign up for courses, get financial aid, discuss benefits, learn about course offerings, speak to career counselors, and print their student ID would be a major improvement to the current system. Fall enrollment is always a time of great excitement but with the large amount of students trying to register it can be taxing on parents and students. This Student Success Building would have a large waiting area to ensure a comfortable environment during this important beginning to each semester. A wait by number system would continue but the space would provide for more room for students and families. In addition to the student enrollment functions, the building would house a conference center space for hosting events and relocate the board room from off campus as well as bring all of the college leadership together in a more collaborative environment.
PERFORMING ARTS CENTER
The existing Fine Arts building was created in 1971, the facility was originally designed to have a larger theater added on to its southern façade. This Master Plan would execute this original design for a 400- to 600-seat Theater depending on auxiliary spaces. The theater will allow for the college to open up to a wider audience in the community for performances, speakers, and other events. In addition to the large theater, several other projects are planned for the new Center. The Band Hall is showing its age and needs to be expanded.
The Fine Arts building has a number of spaces that can easily be renovated as mentioned in the facility assessment, however there are two areas that the Department has indicated are needed additions to be a more collegiate fine arts department. The Fine Arts building itself needs some renovation in several areas that are essential functions. Beyond repairing the leaking skylights and updating the casework, technology and MEP upgrades will be necessary to complete the Performing Arts Center.
BUILDING PROGRAM (click to enlarge)
STEAM / ALLIED HEALTH BUILDING
The first new building project recommended by the master planning team is a new STEAM/Allied Health building. The science labs that currently reside in the Math and Science building no longer meet the functional requirements of these academically rigorous programs. These programs will be housed in a new building that has flexible laboratory environments, designed to meet the needs of students now and well into the future. The other critical program that needs not only additional space but a purpose built facility is the Nursing School. The technological advancements in the medical field require extensive coordination in order to have a truly functional teaching lab. These spaces can be created best in a new facility. The primary reason for combining these disciplines in one building is that nursing students are required to take several science lab classes, such as anatomy, which will be housed in the same building. Once completed, the Science and Math building will be available to back fill with large classrooms that can become Next Generation learning spaces much more cost effectively than they could be transformed into modern laboratories.
ACADEMIC TRANSFER BUILDING
The Academic Transfer Building will serve as the heart of the campus. The building will consist of common spaces as well as state of the art general education classrooms, and faculty offices. These spaces will be primarily utilized by College of the Mainland students and faculty.
NEXT GENERATION LEARNING ENVIRONMENTS
Every building on campus by the end of the master plans realization should be equipped with multiple next generation learning environments. The ability of the college to integrate these spaces into existing buildings will allow those staff and students that may not have programs housed in new buildings to still be able to offer the collaborative, technologically advanced learning environments found in the newly constructed buildings. Research has shown that existing classrooms and labs can be transformed into these modern spaces without major redesign or expense, simply the will to change. The College must make every effort to engage their staff and students to make the most of these non-traditional classrooms and technology infrastructure to ensure they maximize their learning opportunities and college experience. Whether it be simple technological injections such as touch screen, interactive computers or entire small group learning environments, every opportunity must be sought to create these spaces in classrooms, corridors, and between buildings to maximize the instructional capacity of the College’s learning infrastructure.
WAYFINDING AND SIGNAGE
The lack of accessibility and ease of travel to and within the college campus can deter a student from enrolling, confuse current students, and provide for a frustrating time for all. Great campus wayfinding offers clear direction, is accessible, and blends effortlessly into its environment, making the college experience more pleasant. During the planning team’s visits, it was oftentimes hard to find our way on campus even though we had site plans and maps of them. Hidden paths and misplaced landscape make visual connectivity difficult, and the overall feeling was one of disorientation.
Parking and Vehicular signage would be next on the priorities, and key sign locations have been spread throughout each of the parking areas, including light poles to allow for the safe arrival at a parking area. The purple dots represent some ideal locations at this campus. Pedestrian Signage and Maps / Displays will allow the navigator clear opportunities to succeed in finding their end destination once they have left their vehicle. These signs are dispersed throughout the campus proper and are critically important when sites have more than one building. Here they are represented by the blue and yellow dots, and are spread throughout the new quad and between buildings where visitors could get easily misguided.
Wayfinding and Signage is really about the branding of College of the Mainland as these elements will serve not only as clarity but will also be a marketing tool and can be iconic memories for potential students and visitors alike as they can have a huge impact on overall aesthetic of the campus
Even in the most uniform of circumstances, scheduling programs for students can be a challenge
because of professor and student schedules (without the added complexity of varying room size
and shapes that limit functional capacity). The largest building for classes on campus, Technical
Vocational Building, is a smorgasbord of classroom sizes and shapes which is relatively typical
of the buildings on campus. The future buildings on campus and the renovations for the campus
should try to ensure consistent classroom shapes and sizes for both lecture and lab units to
allow for maximum capacity of these rooms during periods of prime usage.
USE THE COLLEGE'S "GOOD BONES"
A major component of the long range master plan is the renovation and build-out of the space in the existing academic buildings that will now be relocated into the new facilities. This allows the college reclaimed space in existing buildings that can be more appropriately utilized to the needs of the students, faculty and staff. Building renovations will be sequenced as such that the new facilities will come on line prior to the removal of any of the existing programmatic spaces in the existing buildings.
Renovations such as these will add additional usable space within the campus footprint. Renovations, typically, are a lot less costly than new construction and the timeline for completing renovations can be a lot shorter, especially depending on the academic make-up of the new space. College of the Mainland’s buildings will be renovated to become next generation learning environments that will provide varied and diverse settings for its students. The renovations can be simply performed especially when reclaimed space can be found in existing spaces.
Campus build-out of existing buildings greatly assists in alleviating the amount of new square footage required per the data presented throughout the master plan book.
INDUSTRIAL CAREERS BUILDING
The Process Technology Program at College of the Mainland was the first of its kind. It currently resides in a series of makeshift classrooms and storage areas. This preeminent program of the college deserves a purpose built facility with room to accommodate its growing interest. Several other programs will also find a home in this new facility such as the Construction Trades and Safety programs currently located at the Gulf Coast Safety Institute. The Continuing Education programs offered by the college will have a storefront location for wayfinding purposes. The staff and Dean associated with Industrial careers will also be located in this new facility near the programs that they instruct.
MEP AND TECHNOLOGY IMPROVEMENTS
Any 50-year old campus has issues with mechanical, electrical and plumbing, as well as trying to integrate the latest technology into aging infrastructure. College of the Mainland is a little unique in that so much of its infrastructure is the same age and past its serviceable life expectancy.
The number of parking spaces at the COM are more than what is necessary, however numerous students pointed out that the parking is not located near any of the buildings that actually hold classes and the parking that is near the classroom buildings is usually full. The walkability of the campus must not be compromised with parking, however efforts should be made to add parking to the east side of campus as additional classroom buildings are constructed to avoid parking issues and long walks to class. With a ring road essentially surrounding campus, access is not typically a problem for students. Finally, there is a medium sized parking lot that is literally on the campus quad that is utilizing prime central campus real estate and the College should engage in consideration to remove and replace these spots to create a more cohesive central campus core.