By Niagara County Community College
A major grant from The John R. Oishei Foundation will help Niagara County Community College complete improvements to the college's current library facility, transforming it into a vibrant and welcoming learning commons space.
A grant totaling $500,000 over five years will help fund renovations for the learning commons, making students the focus, both literally and figuratively. The learning commons will provide opportunities for academic enrichment, access to self-directed learning options, multimedia workstations, computers, print kiosks, wireless access, group meeting areas, study areas and academic tutoring.
Faculty will be able to direct students to one location to receive a multitude of services and to access enrichment activities. The space will house an additional retention coordinator, instructional designer, academic technology specialist, and academic and career coaches who will work with students to facilitate their path to success.
In addition, the new first floor of the learning commons will serve several purposes including: the social "living room" of the campus with an area for students to enjoy coffee and soft seating in a Tim Hortons; an e-commons area; individual and small group study areas; secure access to the Child Development Center; an expanded faculty development resource center; and the college's art gallery.
NCCC President James P. Klyczek said, "I want to thank The John R. Oishei Foundation for its investment in the students and this project at Niagara County Community College. The transition from a 'traditional library' to a learning commons will allow the college to better meet our students' needs.
"Technology has taken on a greater importance today, and libraries must have a different approach to help the 21st century student. The learning commons reflects a change in how libraries are seen and used, and in how students are best engaged not only by educators, but their peers, as well."
Oishei Foundation Senior Vice President of Programs Blythe Merrill added, "This project will not only transform the campus physically, but will also transform how students receive critically needed support services. This one-stop model is designed to help increase student success measures, including retention and graduation rates."
The project is scheduled to start construction during this summer and with a tentative completion date of fall 2017.
The John R. Oishei Foundation strives to be a catalyst for change to enhance economic vitality and the quality of life for the Buffalo/Niagara region. John R. Oishei, founder of Trico Products Corp, established the foundation in 1940.
NCCC offers more than 70 degree and certificate programs, which provide graduates with job-ready skills designed to put them on a path to a new career. The campus boasts a highly successful student development department, which is committed to providing students with the necessary support to achieve their personal and academic goals successfully.The campus also offers nationally ranked athletics programs and on-campus student housing. More information about the college is available at www.niagaracc.suny.edu