EGCC plans $1.8 million renovation

EGCC PROJECT — Eastern Gateway Community College is planning a major renovation project to be completed by the start of the fall semester. Looking over plans for the new Student Success Center are Robert Roeschenthaler, chief information officer, left, and college President Jimmie Bruce. -- Paul Giannamore

STEUBENVILLE — A $1.8 million renovation project will not only change the look of Eastern Gateway Community College but will improve access to student services.

The Student Success Center will be built during the spring and summer in what is now the data center, the glass-walled area facing Sunset Boulevard toward the eastern end of the main college building.

“We will be moving our admissions, financial aid, tutoring, advising and business office, everything to get one successfully enrolled, all in one place,” said Jimmie Bruce, EGCC president.

The renovations will be built around the data center and will include a new Barnes & Noble educational bookstore. As part of the renovations, two classrooms that are in the data center area will be moved to two new classrooms. The front of the wing will be rebranded, featuring metal flashing with the EGCC logo, a new walkway, new glass and new double doors. The concept is to make the renovated wing the main entrance to the college.

“It’s bringing the college into the modern era,” Bruce said of the renovations. “It is going to be a convenience for the students, having all the services in one place. It will have the look and feel of a modern place of higher education, and I think it will be an exciting showplace to bring potential students and current students.

“I’m really excited about it. Visually, it will show the community that we have made the investments in our buildings and it will have the look and feel that an institution of higher education should have going into 2018,” he said.

Bruce said a second phase in the future will see a circular drive built to service the center, as well as a relocated flagpole and, eventually, visitor parking near the entrance.

The design is being done by BHDP Architects of Columbus, and the main contractor is Beaver Construction Co. of Coraopolis.

Bruce said the need for the relocation of student services into one area was one he identified when he first came to the college two years ago.

“We started thinking about it and during the last six to eight months, we got serious about it,” he said. The project was included as part of the capital budget for EGCC.

“There will be no question when someone comes on campus what the front entrance is, and there won’t be admissions in one place, advisers in another place and financial aid and the business office in another. It’s not a huge college, but it’s a huge building and it’s easy to get turned around,” Bruce said. In addition, the new main entrance will better serve access to areas used often for community events, such as the Founders’ Hall and auditoriums.

Robert Roeschenthaler, EGCC chief information officer, said the project has presented challenges in design and preparation, given much of the college is 50 years old.

“One of the major challenges is putting WiFi through the whole building. We have quite a few units coming in,” he said.

Roeschenthaler said while having the data center exposed in the midst of the big glass-walled area was a state-of-the-art architectural feature when it was built decades ago, as computers have become prevalent everywhere, it’s no longer as important. The EGCC Student Success Center will be built around the data center, hiding it from clear public view.

Roeschenthaler said the college had been working with two vendors for its learning management system, but Barnes & Noble offers a solution to combine the bookstore and courseware for online students in one vendor, including e-books and other materials that are obtained by a student through the bookstore.

Bruce said he’s seen plans for the bookstore.

“It’s really going to be nice for the students,” he said.

A formal groundbreaking ceremony will be held in the spring.