Today El Paso Community College (EPCC), officially opened the doors to the Career & Technical Education Building J at the Rio Grande campus with a ribbon-cutting ceremony and an Open House.
One of five campuses conveniently located throughout El Paso County to serve students, Rio Grande campus is the only campus in an urban setting located near downtown and close to a historic district. With an emphasis on programs in the medical and healthcare field, this building expands EPCC’s offerings that lead to high-demand and high-paying careers which are much needed in our region.
This state-of-the art building will provide additional classroom space along with new, cutting-edge simulation labs that will provide hands-on experience, preparing students to become EMTs, Phlebotomists and Radiographers. This space has also allowed EPCC to create a new AAS program in Echocardiography. During his remarks, EPCC President Dr. William Serrata talked about the many ways the college is creating facilities that provide innovative learning experiences and prepare students for the workforce. “We know that you can’t reap the benefits of a college education unless you complete your degree,” Serrata said. “These new facilities will provide many innovative opportunities that will help us reach our goal of educating more students, placing them on a path to completing their degrees and increasing educational attainment in our region.”
EPCC has a long history of transforming students’ futures by providing high quality and affordable education opportunities for our region. The facilities at EPCC combined with classes taught by highly qualified faculty ensure students graduate career ready or can successfully transfer to a 4-year university. “By investing in students’ education, EPCC ensures a solid foundation that will prepare them to successfully transfer to a university or enter the workforce,” Brian Haggerty, EPCC Board Chair said. “This positively impacts our region’s future by bolstering the workforce and ensuring we have graduates in the medical and healthcare fields that are career-ready.”
This building offers 212,866 feet of space that facilitates learning and success, including 20 classrooms, 25 offices for our highly qualified faculty to work with students, 16 simulation labs, 375 parking spaces plus many collaborative spaces for students to engage with professors and one another. This will have a powerful impact on the student experience. Lessons and activities will occur in state-of-the-art classrooms and simulation suites specifically designed for health profession programs including Nursing, EMT, Phlebotomy, Radiology, and Physical Therapy. These simulation labs replicate real-life facilities such as ambulances and hospital spaces which will help ensure that the graduates are familiar with the latest technology. “The building was thoughtfully designed using input from our students, faculty and industry partners to promote interactive, interdisciplinary learning strategies,” Steven Smith, Vice President of Instruction and Workforce Education said. “As a result, students will be prepared, well trained and ready to work in professional settings upon graduation.”
The opening of this facility also allowed EPCC to create a new Echocardiography Program which has welcomed its first cohort of students this year. Not only do these programs allow students to earn a degree or certificate, these programs are also pathways to some of the most needed and highest-paying jobs in our region. The building also allowed EPCC to expand programming in Court Reporting. Students are able to learn in a mock-trial classroom that simulates working in a real courtroom.
EPCC underwent a comprehensive Master Planning process which involved input from students, faculty, staff, and the community. To enhance student experiences and to prepare for future growth, this plan recommended multiple phases of construction to expand facilities. In 2015, the college started construction to implement projects from the Master Plan which included six projects on five campuses. The ultimate goals of these projects are to provide more engaging learning experiences for students, place them on a path to completing their degrees and ultimately increase educational attainment in our region. District-wide more than 405,000 square feet was added. Investing in campus improvement needs and making sure EPCC has the capacity to serve students with additional classroom and laboratory space, state-of-the art learning experiences and improved technology is part of the college’s ongoing Strategic Plan.