The countdown to the opening of the ACC Round Rock Campus is on, with construction more than 65 percent complete and classes starting at the college’s newest location in just five months.
“It’s exciting to see how much progress we’ve made since breaking ground in February 2009,” says Paul Mason, ACC’s project manager. “This site used to be an empty field, and today we are well on our way to completing the first phase of construction, which includes five buildings and will accommodate 5,000 students.”
Phase I of the ACC Round Rock Campus, opening in August, will encompass approximately 275,000 square feet. That’s almost a third of the size of all existing ACC District campuses combined.
“That gives you an idea of how big the Round Rock Campus is,” says Mason. “And this is just the beginning. Eventually ACC Round Rock will have 10 buildings, with a total of about 575,000 square feet, and it will be home to more than 11,000 students.”
For now Phase I remains the focus. Construction crews are on the job six days a week to make up for rain and cold weather. Interior work has already begun in some areas, while exterior construction continues on other buildings. The campus, located south of University Boulevard on College Park Drive, will include state-of-the-art classrooms and labs, an outdoor amphitheater, pedestrian and bike paths, ample green spaces, and a number of other amenities.
“This campus fills a longtime need in Round Rock, and with the downturn in the economy, that need is greater than ever,” says Glen Colby, a Round Rock ISD trustee who co-chaired the steering committee that worked to bring ACC to the community. “Seeing the campus take shape is pretty exciting. It’s a tangible thing now.”
It’s not only excitement that’s growing in Round Rock – so is ACC enrollment. According to spring 2010 data, the number of students from Round Rock ZIP codes is up 83 percent compared with pre-annexation figures – 4,600 students this semester versus 2,508 in spring 2008. Round Rock ISD joined the ACC District in May 2008, after 64 percent of voters approved annexation in exchange for lower, in-district tuition and expanded programs and services. The number of Round Rock students is expected to continue to rise with the opening of the new campus.
“This is a significant investment in the future of Round Rock and Williamson County,” says Dr. Stephen B. Kinslow, ACC president/CEO. “ACC Round Rock Campus will offer comprehensive programs and student services and contribute to the economic prosperity of the region.”
Phase I of the campus will include a full-range of instructional programs, selected and developed with the help of Round Rock business leaders and community representatives. There will be comprehensive core curriculum courses in areas including English, math, science, and the performing arts. ACC Round Rock will also feature specialty workforce training, such as automotive technology, building construction, computer science, welding, and health sciences. The allied health programs represent a cornerstone of ACC Round Rock offerings. Twenty-year-old Timesha Berry is a nursing major, taking ACC classes offered at Texas State’s Round Rock Higher Education Center while ACC Round Rock is under construction.
“I’m really looking forward to taking classes at the new campus,” says Berry, a 2008 graduate of Round Rock’s Stony Point High School. “The location is close and convenient. Everything I need to complete my education is right here.”
Berry expects to earn her associate degree in registered nursing in a year and a half. For students who wish to pursue a bachelor’s degree or beyond, those opportunities exist right in the Avery Centre development where ACC is located.
“The partnership between ACC Round Rock and neighboring educational institutions is a unique benefit to the community,” says Dr. Luanne Preston, executive director of school relations. “Students can begin taking classes with us and go on to Texas State for junior and senior level classes as well as master’s programs. Texas A&M Health Science Center offers graduate work in medical fields and upper-level medical school training. ACC can provide the first step along that educational path or the training and skills needed to enter the workforce immediately.”
In addition to offering a variety of instructional programs, ACC Round Rock will also provide key support services. Students will be able to access academic advising, a testing center, financial aid office, library, veterans’ assistance, and more.
“ACC Round Rock gives me the opportunity to help fulfill an educational vision in my own community,” says Judy Van Cleve, the campus manager. “Over the past 29 years I’ve been with ACC, I’ve longed to be part of a hometown initiative, and now it’s happening.”
The opening of the Round Rock Campus coincides with a time of great growth for ACC. Spring 2010 marks the fourth consecutive semester with record-breaking enrollment college-wide. Current enrollment stands at 41,050 credit students, a 12 percent increase over spring 2009. ACC also has 12,000 non-credit students and 3,000 Adult Education students. The college is in the process of hiring more faculty and staff and adding classes to meet the demands of increased enrollment and the opening of ACC Round Rock.
“More people are recognizing the tremendous value of community college,” says Dr. Kinslow. “ACC’s reputation for excellence and innovation will reach new heights through our expansion in Round Rock.”
posted in: ACC Newsroom, Banner Stories, Round Rock Campus Updates