This fall 2018, GGC’s campus opened the doors of W building to students for the first time.
Construction for W building began in fall 2017 and was officially completed by the end of summer 2018. The building took over C building’s third section as its own, so the two appear as one merged building from the outside. W building is also the most westward building, hence the name.
W building has three levels. The first level is the executive floor where the Academic Enhancement Center. (AEC) The School of Transitional Studies moved from the former C3 building to the first floor of the W building. The School of Transitional Studies oversees the AEC, Honors, and Advising.
“We’ve had additions to our staff, so we needed a bigger area with more storage space,” said Administrative Assistant Julie Geiger.
The second floor consists of a nursing classroom and the School of Business. The third floor now houses the Honors Program and the School of Education.
The entrance to W building can be accessed easily when walking up from the 3000 parking lot.
According to Director of Operations Chris Smith, there will soon be patio furniture outside the entrance for students to sit. On the bottom floor of the building lies the Student Success Center, an open space for students to sit, study, and meet professors.
In total, W building consists of 145 offices and 10 classrooms.
“One of those classrooms is the Stephens Family executive forum [W 1210], which is an MBA style, tiered classroom,” said Smith.
“It was constructed to be a place where [the school of] business could have companies come in and lecture students. It’s going to be used for various events and classes.”
The classroom is not scheduled for use this fall. It will open mid-September.
W 1202 is also a new pilot/flipped style classroom.
“The classroom setup has technology integrated with the furniture and allows for flexible classroom layouts,” said Smith.
“The School of Liberal Arts, Dean Laurel Holland, and some of her faculty are using W 1202 to test out different teaching and learning methods. We’ve had good feedback from students and faculty and are looking to potentially do a couple more of those classrooms around campus if this pilot classroom does well.”
Assistant Professors of English Dr. Daniel Vollaro and Professor Amy Lyn Hess both helped to design W 1202.
The classroom estimated cost was set at $101, 887, as documented in the SLA Classroom Proposal submitted by Vollaro and Hess; however, the finalalized cost was approximately $150,000.
According to Dr. Vollaro, both professors teach project-based learning classes, which revolve around one main project, so a typical classroom with forward-facing desks would not fulfill their classes’ purposes.
“In conversations with several other faculty members, Dr. Vollaro and I both realized that a classroom designed and created for active learning would be beneficial for students and faculty who preferred that methodology.” said Prof. Hess “However, we also wanted it to be entirely mobile in order to expand its usability,” .
“I’m teaching Principles of Technical and Professional Editing this semester.” said Dr. Vollaro “The entire second half of the semester, the students will be editing for authors and publications. The first half of the class is about learning how to be an editor, and the second half of the class is actually editing for real clients,”
“This is very different from a class where you as a student would sit… looking at a professor, talking or presenting powerpoints.”
Unlike the nursing tables that are tied to computer monitors in the H building, W 1202 contains standard classroom tables with casters that allow professors to rearrange them for lectures, group work, or conference style classes.
“The podium is a new technology in that room. Two of the podiums are in honors and another is in a business class elsewhere,” said Smith.
“I find myself using the mobile whiteboards frequently, and I do like the ability to project the main screen to the groups’ individual screens during class,” said Prof. Hess.
W 1202 also has a monitor at each of the six stations sectioned into the classroom floor.
“I just figured out how to project what’s on the main screen to each of the individual stations. That’s a really cool technology because it allows students to see what you’re doing while in their groups as opposed to everyone orientating their attention to the front of the room,” said Dr. Vollaro.
“The students are able to project what they’re doing onto the big screen. It empowers students to share what they are doing in a direct way instead of a professor being the facilitator of everything.”
Since W 1202’s default setting is for active learning and group work, it allows for teachers like Daniel Vollaro and Amy Hess to allow their students to do group work without having to rearrange the room.
Dr. Vollaro stated that a set group of professors will teach in W 1202 for a year to gauge the impact of the new design. Faculty and student surveys will be conducted to gain a better understanding of the results of this pilot study.
The rest of the first floor has two collaboration areas while the second and third floors have three collaboration areas each, complete with UC tables, chairs, and soft seating for students.
The second and third floors also have a series of empty study rooms which will be filled with faculty come December.
“One of the purposes of W was to provide space for faculty from the 3000 residential building, D building, and I building. D building is going to become more of a student services building only,” said Smith.