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The SVGCC Villa campus – A world class facility

The SVGCC Villa campus – A world class facility

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After years of planning and construction, the Villa campus of the St Vincent and the Grenadines Community College (SVGCC) has been physically transformed into what looks like a world class tertiary education institution.{{more}}

Work on this EC$30 million expansion project started in January 2011, and now, the campus fully utilizes the 10.5 acres of land on which it sits. The buildings which existed prior to this phase of work: the administrative building, the library and the classroom block, also received a much needed facelift.

Modern, expanded facilities

There is now a ceremonial main entrance, grandly welcoming students, teachers and visitors to the campus.

The new Teachers’ Building will house the teaching staff and is equipped with a conference room, kitchenette, lounge and the director’s office.

Students are bound to feel at home in the two-storey Students’ Union Building which is equipped with a comfortable student lounge and conference room, a cafeteria, and an indoor gym space. Outside there are two hard courts with bleachers. The offices of the student support assistant registrar and the sports coordinator will also be housed in the building.

The Lecture Theatre Building is home to 10 classrooms, three science laboratories, Information Technology and Modern Language laboratories, a Visual Arts room and three lecture theatres. The lecture theatres are designed with retractable doors which will open up to a large open air stage, when necessary.

Physically challenged persons will have no trouble getting around the campus, as all the buildings are connected by balconies, which are wheelchair accessible. An elevator has also been provided for use by those with mobility challenges.

Parking lots have been added to accommodate 100 automobiles, with areas designated for student, visitor and staff parking.

New developments, new programmes

When SEARCHLIGHT spoke with deputy director Nigel Scott, last Friday, he stated that the students of the Community College will begin to utilize the buildings from this new school year.

“The contractors are signing over several of the buildings that were practically completed,” he said.

“The buildings would be in use…most of them. The Students’ Union Building will be another two weeks or so. The Lecture Theatre Building; the classroom will be used, but the lecture theatres still need seats…so those should be installed within the next couple of weeks or so. Teachers’ Building is ready for use.”

Additionally, the deputy director also revealed that the Division of Teacher Education, previously located at Arnos Vale, will be joining the Division of Arts, Sciences and General Studies at the Villa campus.

“The students of Teacher Education are very much a part of the Community College and will mix and mingle with the students of the Division of Arts, Sciences and General Studies,” Scott said.

In a thrust towards higher education, a Bachelor of Education degree will now be offered at the college.

“We will also be offering from September, a Bachelor of Education in Social Studies Education. We have about 48 students who were accepted by the University of the West Indies into that franchise programme, which we will run here at the campus,” Scott told SEARCHLIGHT.

In fact, the Community College, which facilitates over 900 full-time students and some part-time students, is open from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. and not only offers associate degrees in courses such as Business Studies and Psychology, but they are also looking to enhance their natural sciences programme.

“The three existing labs, along with the three new labs will be used,” said Scott, who stated that initially, the plan was to transform the existing labs into classrooms.

“You can use a lab as a classroom, but you can’t use a classroom as a lab… We are looking at expansion here. The next frontier is really for the college to offer further training in the natural sciences. For example, an associate degree and even begin to look at whether we can offer the first year of the university degree programme.”

Despite the additional space at the campus, increasing the intake of students may not be possible at this time.

“The constraints are not really at the Division of Arts Sciences and General Studies in terms of the intake and space. The biggest issue, of course, is staffing, so those issues will have to be dealt with before you start taking even larger numbers,” Scott said. However, he assured that the college currently accepts all students who are qualified for entry into any of the divisions.

(More pictures on photograph page)

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