2018 has been an eventful year for Austin Community College. The college opened one new campus and three new buildings, launched its first bachelor degree program, established exciting new partnerships, completed its website redesign, and hosted its inaugural scholarship gala. Below are highlights from the past year.
Expanding ACC's Footprint
ACC continues to more forward with capital improvements from the voter-approved 2014 bond projects and additional collegewide expansions.
The college started the year off with a grand opening celebration and tour of Elgin Campus Phase 2. The expansion features specialized facilities for the Veterinary Technology and Sustainable Agricultural Entrepreneur programs.
San Gabriel Campus
The college expanded to Leander with the opening of its newest campus, San Gabriel. Classes began in fall. The campus is home to the college's second ACCelerator and a rooftop terrace.
Public Safety Training Center
The college hosted the grand opening of Hays Campus Phase 2, the college's first regional law enforcement training center. The new Public Safety Training Center features advanced training facilities for first responders including a force-on-force room, a firing range, and an emergency vehicle operator course (EVOC) along with specialty classrooms.
Round Rock Campus
The final grand opening of the year was for Round Rock Campus Phase 2. Building 8000 features ACC's third ACCelerator, a social staircase, and allows for continued growth of the health sciences programs.
Phase 2 of ACC Highland adds flexible, advanced facilities for career-technical education, and hands-on experience. Set to open in 2020, Phase 2 includes a regional workforce development center featuring "makerspace" and equipment for advanced manufacturing, a STEM regional simulation center for health sciences, a creative digital media center gallery, and performing arts spaces that create synergy between the performing and fine arts and related technologies, and a culinary arts and hospitality management center for career education and training including a student-operated restaurant.
Meanwhile, the first of three parks on the 81-acre Highland property opened in May with a kick-off celebration. The park, located on Highland's south end next to the Elan Parkside apartment complex, features two heritage oak trees, abundant drought-tolerant landscaping, a community garden, and the first leg of a fitness trail that will be a part of a planned district-wide loop. It is a joint venture between ACC and RedLeaf Properties.
Rio Grande Campus
A year after its symbolic groundbreaking, demolition work at Rio Grande Campus is wrapping up and renovation of the main building begins. Included in the renovation: a three-level ACCelerator, two enclosed courtyards, science labs, classrooms, offices, student services, and student life, and an expanded space for ACC's deaf and hard-of-hearing community.
ACC teamed up with Facebook to create a new digital marketing certificate program. The program, which begins in spring 2019, will focus on digital marketing and social media strategy to help prepare students with the skills they need to be successful in the business world.
ACC also joined forces with KLRU-TV, Austin PBS for the redevelopment of the former Dillard's women's space at Highland. The first floor of the 185,000 square-foot building will house joint facilities for ACC's television studios including programming and production for ACC-TV and KLRU's offices. The two organizations intend to work together to expand the vision of ACC-TV, create internships for ACC students, create joint productions, and seek collaborative opportunities to address a variety of Central Texas concerns. Construction began in fall and is expected to be complete in 2020.
ACC's first bachelor's degree program launched this fall. The RN-to-BSN program addresses a critical nursing shortage in Central Texas and creates a new advancement pathway for local registered nurses (RN). It allows registered nurses with an associate degree or diploma to complete a Bachelor's of Science in Nursing (BSN) at less than half the cost of typical public university tuition.
ACC continues to add more opportunities for high school students with the new Health Sciences Academy. The program provides access to a comprehensive selection of advanced course offerings for Austin and Del Valle ISD high school students seeking a career in healthcare. Students can complete a pharmacy technician certificate, phlebotomy certificate, or emergency medical technician certificate (EMT) depending on interest.
The Honda Professional Automotive Career Training (PACT) program kicked off this spring to provide students with additional automotive technology career certifications. The two-year program includes 10 unique Honda and Acura certifications taught by Honda-certified instructors and the ability to earn at least two Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) certifications through the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence.
The college continues to help students save money by launching the First Day Program this summer and two new Z-Degree programs this fall: the Associate of Science in General Studies and the Associate of Arts in General Studies. The First Day and Z-Degree programs provide deep discounts and zero-cost digital class materials, respectively, and have saved students nearly $3 million since launching. This fall, 42 First Day classes and more than 410 ZTC classes were offered.
After years of research, planning, design, and testing, ACC has a new look online. The website redesign project was a priority in the college's 2017-2021 Strategic Plan. The ACC Web Redesign Advisory Team guided the effort with a focus on making the website more intuitive for all users to navigate, easier for content managers to maintain, and 100 percent mobile-friendly.
Boots & Bats Gala
ACC held its inaugural scholarship gala, Boots & Bats, on Saturday, November 10, at ACC Highland. Nearly 400 guests attended. The event included live music with Akina Adderley, a live and silent auction featuring art, clothing, jewelry, and entertainment, and delicacies designed and prepared by ACC Culinary Arts students.