Midlands Technical College Opens Learning Resource Center on Beltline Campus
Friday, November 10th, 2017
Midlands Technical College officially opened its $14.5 million Learning Resource Center on the college’s Beltline Campus. Representatives from local, county, and state government helped cut the ribbon before touring the 43,000-square-foot facility, the newest building on any Midlands Technical College campus.
“We are so proud to offer this beautiful new facility to our students and the community,” said Midlands Technical College President Dr. Ronald L. Rhames. “You could call this center the new ‘front door’ to the MTC Beltline Campus. It is specifically designed to provide a space for our students that encourages collaboration, as well as educational and personal success. Students can come here and have access to all the great resources MTC offers, under one roof.”
The Learning Resource Center replaces the 24,000-square-foot Beltline Campus Library constructed in 1967. Designed by Quackenbush Architects + Planners to be a highly collaborative and technology-focused learning space, construction on the new facility began in June 2015.
“It really is state-of-the-art when it comes to technology,” said Rhames. “Students use the center’s interactive and multimedia technology to study together, conduct research together, learn together, and grow together as a student community. The Learning Resource Center really makes a great learning environment because of the integrated space.”
MTC Library Director Florence Mays said giving students access to the latest educational technology not only prepares them for success in the classroom, but for success further down the road.
“This building gives our students a lot more access to technology,” said Mays. “We live in a technological society, so when students are able to access and understand the latest technology, it really puts them at an advantage when they graduate and move into the workplace.”
The Learning Resource Center has classrooms, study rooms, dedicated tutoring space, and a variety of other student-resource rooms spread throughout its three floors. More than 100 computers are available to students throughout the two levels of the main library area.
The building is also designed as a place for students to mingle, collaborate, and “stay-a-while,” versus returning home between classes. Ten study rooms of various sizes are located throughout the building.
“These rooms give students ways to collaborate with other students on things like homework and projects,” said Mays. “We are giving students what they need – collaborative space where they can study productively and study together.”
Students can also engage in interactive learning through research portals, touch screens, whiteboard walls, multimedia classrooms, and the library’s collection of print and electronic informational materials.
In addition to the latest technology resources, the new building gives students the life-skills resources they may need to find and keep a job after graduation. Thanks to support from Bill and Lou Kennedy of Nephron Pharmaceuticals, the Learning Resource Center is also home to the William Jerry Wood Life Skills Center on the Beltline Campus.
“This building is more than just windows, brick, and mortar,” said MTC Commission Chair Garry Powers. “It is emblematic of what makes Midlands Technical College so important to this community. Part of that is the new Life Skills Center. Midlands Technical College has made a commitment to help people develop life skills along with career development.”
As part of its strategic plan, Midlands Technical College is working to integrate life skills such as effective communication, teamwork, punctuality, integrity, work ethic, self-direction, and interpersonal skills into 90% of its programs.
“That’s what makes Midlands Technical College very different from any other educational institution in this area,” said Powers.
From being the new “front door” to the MTC Beltline Campus, to the place students turn for the skills they will need throughout their careers and lives, Rhames said the Learning Resource Center is a place where students can build a campus community before moving into great careers in the Midlands.
“When prospective students see the investment Midlands Technical College is willing to make to give them the best academic experience, I think they will enroll with us,” he said. “Our students go on to fill important needs in the workforce and grow our local economy. A modern building that helps students succeed pays off not only for them, but for the Midlands as a whole. That’s a mission we are proud of.”
In addition to Rhames, Powers, and Mays, other college and community partners who helped officially open the Learning Resource Center were:
Greg Pearce, Richland County Council
Paul Livingston, Richland County Council and MTC Director of Community Development
Gerald Seals, Richland County Administrator
Chris Folsom, Deputy Lexington County Administrator
Rep. MaryGail Douglas, Fairfield County Delegation
Bertha Goins, Vice Chair, Fairfield County Council
Tameika Isaac Devine, City of Columbia
Ron Drayton, MTC VP for Academic Affairs
Nicole McCune, MTC Student Advisory Council Chair