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Refocusing to Student-Centered Learning: RCC Renovations Persevere through Pandemic

Several of Richland Community College’s high-performing programs were in need of renovated spaces to refocus learning to a student-centered model. As part of a multi-phase long-range facilities plan, the $11.6 million first phase updated two exterior spaces and 45,000 s.f. of interior renovations were made to facilitate critical thinking and allow experiential learning through real-world problem solving in flexible spaces.

New active-learning spaces include biology, microbiology, anatomy, physiology, chemistry, health science and earth science labs. Each lab is now fitted with the latest technology and provides students with environments that encourage collaboration, provide natural light, offer ample storage and prioritize safety.

​In addition to the classroom improvements, several student support spaces and informal collaboration spaces have been added or renovated to enhance student experiences. The Academic Success Center and Online Learning offices both received major upgrades to improve the approachability and visibility of the programs for students seeking assistance. To reduce the impact of construction activities and keep the college operational during renovations, a DIRTT (Doing It Right This Time) prefabricated interior wall system was used to complete this complex project in a tight timeline, with minimal loss of instructional time.

Last spring, RCC's project was featured in APPA's March/April 2022 issue of Facilities Manager, which featured a compilation of 26 projects from 15 U.S. campuses to highlight the "tremendous breadth and depth of the quality and innovation that contribute to an effective built environment that supports the educational mission and vision."

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