Campus renovations focus on academic needs

Bulldozers dig up concrete in front of the HILB Center in Palm Desert, Oct 1. Photo Courtesy of The Chaparral.

BY JACOB SCHULTE

STAFF REPORTER

College of the Desert students have no doubt noticed the construction across COD campuses as several important projects progress into the Fall 2019 semester. Fences are wrapped around pathways on the main campus in Palm Desert and the grandiose International Fountain of Knowledge is currently dry while workers make sure it meets regulations. The Indio campus is more than doubling in size, and many other renovations are underway as COD reinvests in itself and its student body.

Executive Director of Bond Program and Facilities Planning (ED-BPFP), John O. White, talked about some of the upcoming facilities renovations and expansions across COD campuses including some big additions at the increasingly popular Indio campus.

“Because of how much the enrollment and activity have grown in the East Valley we are on the way to doubling the square footage of the Indio campus.” White said. “There will be a new childcare development and training center across the street, so not only will childcare be available but those who are studying in that field will have more opportunity to learn and practice their skills.”

At the main campus in Palm Desert, several campus facilities and buildings are under construction. The Library and Resources Learning Center is part of the Central Campus Redevelopment project that is already in progress.

“You can imagine the nature of libraries across university campuses now are much different than they used to be. It used to be books upon books; those were the primary sources of information.” White said. “But now so much is digital, in a library it’s become important for students to have easy access to the information they need and also have collaboration space. As just one example, the renovated library will have breakout rooms where several students can work on projects together.”

Students interested in joining clubs can take note that there will be less trouble finding a space to meet with as a new section of campus will be dedicated for student clubs.

“In the South Annex of the main campus in Palm Desert, the human resources and accounting and financing departments are being relocated and now a large part of that space is going be available for student clubs and organizations to meet and engage,” White said.

The Palm Springs campus is one of the colleges most ambitious projects. While some students are taking classes at the temporary campus, a permanent one will be built in place of what once was the Palm Springs Mall. The first phase of development will focus on constructing creative spaces and experiential labs for hospitality and tourism programs as well as film and digital media and broadcasting. The second phase will start the building of the Center of Excellence, where healthcare and sustainability courses will be the main focus. In the end, the Palm Springs campus aims to have several state-of-the-art courses that help students forge promising career paths in the industry best for them.

“The strategic nature of renovating or planning for new facilities always align with what our academic priorities are, which we call COD’s Educational Masterplan,” White said. “It’s the response to what the college has set up as it’s instruction and academic priorities. The facilities [constructed] are preparing the support whether it’s space, buildings, equipment, it’s all a response to what the educational mission is.”

For more information on active projects, you can visit a new portion of the COD website by clicking the Bond Program and Facility Planning button on the bottom right corner of the homepage at www.collegeofthedesert.edu.

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