WCCCD Northwest Campus: A diamond in the rough
Multiple buildings with five distinct structures offer a vast array of programs and services for both students and the community.
By David C. Butty
Mary Grayson has worked as graphic designer and publication specialist for Wayne County Community College District for almost seven years. Throughout these years, Grayson has designed hundreds of flyers, brochures, academic schedules and other publications for WCCCD with the bulk of her assignments coming from the college’s five campuses, including the Mary Ellen Stempfle University Center in Harper Woods.
“All these years, I have only known the campuses on paper,” Grayson said. But all that has changed thanks to a new campus exploration effort recently initiated by WCCCD Chancellor Dr. Curtis L. Ivery. This new initiative provides District staff and other newly-hired staff the opportunity to visit the campuses and get a first-hand experience of the differences between the District and campus life.
Grayson joined other District staff on a recent visit to the Northwest Campus, located on the corner of Southfield Freeway (M-39) and Outer Drive in Northwest Detroit. The campus is considered a hidden gem, “a diamond in the rough,” depending on to whom you are talking.
Some call it a college within a college; while others brag about it as the District’s ‘Flagship Campus,’ based on the enrollment and all the various programs offered there. Grayson and others, including the chancellor boarded a bus to visit the Northwest Campus for meetings and guided tours.
“The Northwest Campus contains multiple buildings with five distinct structures that offer a vast array of programs and services for both students and the community. Here you will find cutting-edge health science programs, exceptional laboratory facilities, state of the art technologies, and excellent customer service, said Dr. Andrea Juarez, Provost of Health Sciences.
“Our Denise Wellons-Glover Welcome Center centralizes the majority of student services and Student Affairs into one convenient location with professional personnel who provide core assessment, advising, career counseling, admissions, registration, and financial aid assistance,” she added. The Welcome Center also houses the Public Safety unit and the Police Authority Service Center, the campus bookstore, the Learning Resource Center, a student lounge, several classrooms, and the Adult Education (or GED) Program.
“I was very much impressed with the Health Science Building and the Larry K. Lewis Educational Center with the state-of-the-art equipment that provides students with hands-on learning opportunities,” Grayson said. The campus offers so much for the community as well.
The General Arts Building is the hub for majority of the transfer courses, as well as selects occupational curricula such as accounting, business administration, early childcare training, teacher education, law enforcement administration and corrections. Dr. Juarez explained, “The GAB is home to the Food Service Management Program, occupying a spacious food production management lab and dedicated resource lab. The GAB is equipped with 31classrooms, two large lecture halls, and four computer labs.”
Then there is the Laboratory Science Building, home with facilities to support courses such as anatomy and physiology, microbiology, and chemistry. The building consists of six laboratories, six lecture rooms, and a 230-seat lecture hall. A striking feature of this building is the lower level which includes an atrium with plant life used as a service learning project and to support the botany courses.
The Health Science Center is a modern two-story building that hosts the District’s flagship programs such as Nursing, Nursing assistant, Dental Hygiene, Dental Assisting, Surgical Technology, Center Service Technician, Phlebotomy, Patient Care Technician, and Pharmacy Technology. Its unique design helps to support these programs with eight labs, 10 classrooms, and a fully-equipped dental clinic. The Dental Clinic is open six days a week and provides excellent dental services to students and community at large.
The Health Science Center is also home to the Simulation Suite with three high fidelity simulation labs equipment with Sim Man, Noelia the birthing mother with baby, and Sim Baby. The Simulation Lab includes a nursing station, lecture classroom, and a mock apartment for students to practice skills learned in the classroom prior to going to clinical rotations in hospital settings. “Simulation is currently used in most of our health science programs including nursing, pharmacy technology, surgical technology, and EMT, Dr. Juarez stated. “The use of simulations will also be incorporated in dental hygiene during the fall of 2014.
The latest addition to the Northwest Campus is the Larry K. Lewis Education Center opened this year was recently awarded a Platinum LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environment Design) certificate by the U.S. Green Building Council. The Center is a 90,000 sq. ft. academic building houses 31 classrooms, seven computer labs, a 133-seat lecture hall, a Media Center and the Northwest Campus Brown and Juanita C. Ford Art Gallery.
The new building is completely “Green.” It utilizes geothermal heating/cooling, a “grey” water pond system, solar panels for hot water and electricity and has a “green” roof visible from one of the classrooms. The building houses the Police Authority Administration on the first floor, campus administrative offices on the second floor and faculty offices on the third floor. The Larry K. Lewis Education Center is also home to several new offerings, such as:
– Database Administrator
– Network Administrator
– Web Design and Programming
– Medical Office Specialist and
– Paralegal Technology
“The kiosks are my favorite part of what the Student Services Division offers to our students. These computers give students the ability to either register or quickly check their financial aid status before running to class. They are great,” Grayson added.
Not only students, but every visitor to the campus is welcomed with open arms. “It is our way of saying, “Thank You,” said Dr. Letitia Uduma, the campus’ president.
“I was impressed on how environmentally friendly the Larry Lewis Educational Center is, especially, the energy saving techniques used to reduce cost,” Grayson added. “I was fascinated by the fire safety features that allow the steel panels to automatically block one level from another in case of fire. It is quite a set up. I look forward to being able to tour our other campuses in the future.”