Tidewater Community College Chesapeake Campus’s Student Center was recognized as one of five awardees of the Facility Design Award of Excellence at the Association of College Unions International’s 2016 Annual Conference. The ACUI Facility Design Awards recognize outstanding and successful collaborations between architects and campuses in the design of facilities that foster student learning.
Tidewater Community College (TCC) is the second largest of the 23 community colleges in Virginia, enrolling more than 42,000 students annually. In fact, forty-five percent of the region’s residents who attended a college or university in Virginia in fall 2012 were enrolled at TCC.
In order to support this growing trend, TCC’s Chesapeake campus prioritized the development of a student-friendly “living room” with multipurpose social, recreational, and service spaces that foster student success, enhance institutional identity, and reach out to the distinct needs of the community college population. Center’s program to keep students active, engaged, and focused on their learning objectives while on campus.
Working alongside staff and students, the design team identified three main goals to support TCC in becoming a model for comprehensive community college education in the 21st century:
1. Retain Students on Campus
Forecasting the right mix of amenities and programs to keep busy, commuter students on campus is a challenge – but defines the success of a good community college student center. The New Student Center provides a rich mix of uses that brings together a diverse body of students. The design strategically organizes the program to keep students active, engaged, and focused on their learning objectives while on campus.
2. Create a Stronger Sense of Identity
Unlike a typical campus academic building, a successful student center needs a more extroverted focus and expression. By projecting its lively activity to the outside, the New Student Center at TCC Chesapeake draws students in and contributes an attractive new image that enhances a sense campus culture and community.
3. Understanding the Community College Student
With one foot in the academic world, and the other firmly planted in the realities of working adulthood or the financial strains of higher education, many community college students balance a wide range of responsibilities. Specific programs (like child-minding) offered at the New Student Center serve this unique population and provide the resources students need to succeed.