Volume 4, Number 3 - October 8, 2013

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DONNALYN ANTHONY/THE REPORTER

Despite its Setback, West Campus Has Made Impressive Improvements

By Ana DeMahy
ademahy@mdc.edu

West Campus opened its academic doors on March 2006 for mini-term courses. 150 students arrived to take classes at the newest Miami Dade College campus housed in a new building.  

As student enrollment grew, so did the expansion to the facilities, but due to an unfortunate accident there have been setbacks impacting the campus.

In spite of the inconvenience that limited parking poses for the students at West, students recognize the value of an education and continue to enroll and take classes.  Limited parking is an understatement since 98% of the student population (handicap parking and special needs students park on campus) park at an offsite locale and are shuttled to the campus by a bus service; this adds approximately 30 minutes to a student’s day.  

So you may be asking, why? Why West?

The college has continued its commitment to serving students and it is very evident upon arrival to the campus. A new circular driveway entrance greets students, faculty, and staff.  Included is a drop off area for automobiles, a designated drop off for the shuttle service with shaded benches for students to interact and enjoy, and designated motorcycle and bicycle parking spaces.

The front entrance project has offered a variety of outside seating, interactive spaces, and a smooth and safe drop off for students.

Entering the buildings, it is evident that the summer term was busy with construction with the purpose of enhancing the student experience.

The main hallway has large glass windows that invite students to the information commons (library and computer courtyard), student life, bookstore and café.  Students congregate in the student life game room and through the open design can easily go to the café or bookstore.  

Student Services also has a new home in building 2000 with the emphasis on an improved modality in delivering services and accessibility to students. No longer do students have to go to different places for information regarding admissions, registration, and financial aid; they can simply speak to someone in student services.

A new EAP lab and a multi discipline, multi-function Academic Student Success Center has expanded the availability of computer tutoring support for our students.

This fall term we have added four new classrooms and in the spring term we will introduce two new science labs. West has become very student friendly with multiple seating areas in each building. This includes open spaces with comfortable seating for small group interaction and niches that offer one or two students a small workspace, all with WIFI connectivity and electrical outlets to charge laptops. Additionally, two spaces will be opening soon, with the purpose of assisting students in team projects using flexible seating and advanced technology.

The student centered approach permeates at West. It is in the classroom experience, the learning resource area, the lab support, the student services personnel, who are crossed-trained to better serve students, and the custodial and public safety staff who focus on the safety, order, and well-being of students that all come together to improve the overall look and feel of the campus.

West enrollment continues to grow and West will continue to expand to meet the academic and facility-related needs of students, and yes, we are going to have parking for students on campus as soon as possible.


Ana DeMahy is the director of administrative and student services at West Campus.


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Miami Dade College is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to award associate and baccalaureate degrees.
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