Students returning to Bucks County Community College’s Newtown Township campus for the spring semester will see some upgrades to the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Department and Health Sciences Department’s facilities.
The community college is wrapping up the latest phase in an $11 million multi-part renovation project that upgrades classrooms and labs while adding a new set offices. The upgrades took place in the 73,000-square-foot Founders Hall which is 50 years old this year.
The renovations added two engineering and physics labs – one for mechanical and one for electrical engineering classes; a Project Room for innovations, including 3-D printing among other things; a new computer lab; and a new STEM Learning Center, where faculty will provide supplemental instruction for STEM courses, according to Professor Debra Geoghan, interim dean of the STEM Department.
“We are excited about our new collaborative learning spaces and the possibilities these will bring for students to work together and with faculty,” Geoghan said. “The STEM Learning Center in particular will allow students to get further support directly from our professors.”
A good portion of the project focused on updating infrastructure in Founders Hall. The three-story building’s electrical, heating, venting, air-conditioning, and plumbing systems were revamped, community college officials said.
The next phase of the community college’s upgrade efforts will be finished by August. It includes moving the Health Sciences Department from Grupp Hall to Founders Hall.
Connie Corrigan, dean of the Health Sciences Department, said the next set of upgrades will add a simulation lab with four patients rooms, a debrief center, two clinical skills rooms, a skill lab, a phlebotomy classroom/lab and control room.
Founders Hall was connected to the new 43,000-square-foot Science Center that welcomed students for the first time last winter. The new Science Center has 10 labs, prep areas, indoor and outdoor gathering areas and geothermal heating and cooling.
Community college officials said last year that about one-third of their students are focused on STEM studies. To meet the need, the higher-learning facility has updated their offerings.
The recently-renovated Founders Hall was among the first finished phase of construction of the community college’s Newtown campus in 1968.