By Mikayla Kimery
On December 17, 2015, Olympic College hosted a groundbreaking ceremony for the new College Instruction Center. Housing an interesting combination of nursing and fine arts, students and the community are very excited for this state-of-the-art building. There were many speakers at the ceremony, including various faculty members and state senators that contributed to this development. The design has been in the works for over seven years, and is the largest funded project in state community and technical college history, with a budget of 46.5 million dollars. With a grand size of 70,000 square-feet, the new theatre and simulation labs will have plenty of room for student growth.
This immense plan would not be possible without the devotion from our college’s community and state legislatures. Senators Christine Rolfes and Jan Angel were both in attendance at the event, and expressed their enthusiasm for the Olympic College’s continuous growth. Rolfes clearly highlighted how worthy of an investment this was from the state and its taxpayers, due to its valuable improvements to our fine arts and nursing programs. Rolfes concluded her speech by paraphrasing Winston Churchill, “I wanna say that this day marks the end of the beginning, it’s taken a long time to get here, and it marks the beginning of the end, for the old parking lot and the old art building.”
Angel has also been on board with this task since day one, recalling that it surfaced when she started out as an accounting commissioner, and stating that it maintained a top priority as she moved into the house. It was not until the past two years that the state derived a formula, unfortunately resulting in an allocation that was six million dollars short. Angel then created a partnership with the Chair of the Capital Budget, Senator Jim Honeyford, reasoning that this was not going to cut it for our students. Luckily, Honeyford promised that he would find extra money in emergency funding to meet the ratio of the project. Without this extra help, this learning center would not have been possible.
Professors from these programs are equally hopeful for the CIC’s new opportunities. Timothy Hagan, head of Olympic College’s award-winning digital film department, says the space “meets authentic needs of artists in the 21st century.” Due to an increase in the use of advanced equipment, Hagan explained that the structure would encompass many essential features. From adjustable acoustic wings to the new led lighting system in the theatre, students are able to further their exploration in technology and its integration in the fine arts. An exciting aspect to the innovative lighting system is that students will now be able to sculpt with light, adding an interesting element to any type of performance occurring in the theatre; likewise, Hagan is proud to announce that ten new Mac Pro enabled editing stations will also be incorporated in the building.
Hagan stated that the new theatre would hold many options for students and the surrounding community, “It’s marvelous for recitals, for all kinds of symphonic performances, Bremerton’s symphony orchestra, the youth orchestra,” and the list travelled on and on. The adjustable acoustic wings can turn the theatre to a concert hall for music events, and even to a screening room for digital film. Hagan also prospected that the space could be used as a lecture hall for various presentations. There are other resources off-stage that will be added as well. Dressing rooms and even a green room are included, aiding to the comfort of student performers; additionally, a costume and set shop will further emphasize this concept. Hagan states that him and his fellow colleagues are “ready to embrace the unprecedented opportunities of the new era of digital film-making.”
The new structure promises many opportunities for nursing students as well. A student from the Nursing Program, Hannah Becker, explained the benefits of the larger simulation labs that will be established. As a second year student, Becker is thrilled for the allowance of a larger area dedicated to this practice, as it is very important to her learning: “In a simulation setting we are able to work as a team, navigate through difficult medical situations, and most importantly, we are able to make mistakes and learn from them in a setting that’s safe. Safe for us as students, and safe for patients, as they never die.” Forever grateful to the work devoted to this expansion, Becker closes with reminding the shovel bearers to use their knees instead of their back when breaking ground at the ceremony.
Thank you to all of the people that have made the new College Instruction Center possible, from our college’s foundation to state legislatures, everyone has played their part in creating this outstanding opportunity for our students.