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Olympic College building becomes ‘glue’ of the campus

A crowd gathered at Olympic College’s Bremerton campus in the common area in the new Humanities and Student Services building Wednesday for a ribbon-cutting ceremony. The building houses all student services in one location and college Trustee Peter Crane said it will help “make the first experience comfortable” for new students. - Christopher Carter/staff photo
A crowd gathered at Olympic College’s Bremerton campus in the common area in the new Humanities and Student Services building Wednesday for a ribbon-cutting ceremony. The building houses all student services in one location and college Trustee Peter Crane said it will help “make the first experience comfortable” for new students.
— image credit: Christopher Carter/staff photo

Standing in line at the relocated financial aid office, Olympic College student Lori-Lee Morsette said she won’t have to travel back and forth across campus in the rain as often.

The office is among the rest of student services finally together under one roof.

“It’s so nice that everything is in one spot,” Morsette said.

A crowd of more than 200 gathered in the building’s common area to officially dedicate the 80,000-square-foot building Wednesday.

“We’ve waited a long time for this,” said Olympic College President David Mitchell, adding that the six-year process required patience. “It takes a lot of collaboration to build a building like this.”

The facility, costing $30 million, opened for business March 29.

With 26 classrooms and hallways of faculty offices, the building features more than 500 desks, 300 new computers and 30 faculty work stations, all to create more access for students.

“It’s not just about bricks and mortar,” Mitchell said, adding that having different services in so many locations might have turned some students away. “Things we re so disjointed before.”

New student Yesenia Chaves said she is thankful she won’t have to experience the back-and-forth nature of student services that irked others before her.

“You don’t have to jump from place to place,” she said, adding that she also sees the new building as a place to study.

College Trustee Peter Crane said the building is the “glue” that helps hold the campus together.

“It’s a real college campus,” he said of how the building plays a role in making the campus look and feel more connected. “It’s no longer the best-kept secret in town.”

The building’s outside appearance follows the same style as the last two major construction projects on campus. The Haselwood Library opened in 2000, and the Science and Technology building opened its doors in 2007.

While the building has its curb appeal, greater student access to services and improved space for faculty is the primary focus.

“We should enjoy this gorgeous building,” said history teacher Phil Schaeffer. “But remember that what goes on in the classroom is more important.”

The building is certified silver by the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design organization, a state requirement. However, Mitchell said the building is in the queue for gold certification.

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