Jeffress Center demonstrates college commitment to expanding services
By Elaine Gerou
By Lauren Lukens
What was once a vision is now a reality. After a year of renovations, remodeling and relocation of many of the campus’ business departments, the Jeffress Center is officially open. Located on the north side of campus on the corner of Seven Mile and Haggerty, the 110,000 sq. ft. facility is home to the campuses new flagship partnership, SC to U, as well as many of the campuses business and administrative offices.
A perfect name
At a Board of Trustees meeting in January 2014, the Schoolcraft Board of Trustees unanimously voted on a name for the new building. After 14 years of presidency and over 32 years of serving the Schoolcraft community, the structure was appropriately named after current President Dr. Conway A. Jeffress.
“I made the motion to name the building the Jeffress Center in honor of Schoolcraft’s fourth president, Dr. Conway A. Jeffress,” said Schoolcraft College Board Secretary James Fausone. “We have the opportunity to create a new name and brand for the building.”
Under Jeffress’ leadership, the college has seen several improvements including the renovation of the new building, creation the Public Safety Training Complex in 2013, construction the Biomedical Technology Center in 2008, remodel of the Bradner Library in 2005 and open the VisTaTech Center in September 2003. All of this has been done while keeping the college financially stable and maintaining an affordable tuition.
“I am excited about the opening of the Jeffress Center because it permits many other changes to occur on campus. Among the departments that have moved into the building is the Continuing Education and Professional Development Center. This allowed the demolition of the old structure and the creation of parking for students using the campus bookstore,” said Jeffress. “There are many new services being offered supporting our students. The Answer Center, the Veterans’ Center, the restructured Women’s Center and the Testing Center have all been made possible by our investment in this facility and the utilization of space on campus. ”
There are three separate wings labeled A, B and C that make up the building. The A wing is closest to the corner of Seven Mile and Haggerty and holds Schoolcraft’s human resources. The B wing is the home of Wayne State University (WSU) and the C wing is University of Toledo (UT).
Many administrative and business offices have relocated to the Jeffress Center including the President’s Office, Vice President and CFO, Marketing and Communications, Schoolcraft College Foundation, Business Development Center, Financial and Business Services, Risk Management, Campus Police Authority, Payroll, Facilities Management, Construction and Design and Finance and Purchasing. Other amenities include a student lounge, faculty offices, study booths, numerous conference rooms and a boardroom for holding meetings.
“There are certain activities that are revenue generating. Two universities, Wayne State University and the University of Toledo, will occupy space. Additionally, we plan to open a Data Center, which will be advantageous for commercial enterprises to make use of both the space and power we have, which is now in abundance in the Center,” said Jeffress. “The revenue created does not necessarily permit us to purchase new buildings, or anything that spectacular, but it does help to balance the budget and keep costs down and expand services.”
Study rooms for student use, equipped with dry erase boards, are available for students enrolled in the partnership. UT even has large monitors with Internet access for videoconferences, which connect students back to the main campus located in Toledo and for other counseling purposes.
The Jeffress Center does not only benefit Schoolcraft itself, but is a huge advantage for students wanting to transfer to a four-year college. While completing an associate’s degree at Schoolcraft, students now have the opportunity to simultaneously achieve a bachelor’s and/ or master’s degree from WSU or UT. Classes are available on Schoolcraft’s main campus and taught by WSU and UT professors.
“I think the building itself gives University of Toledo an opportunity to work with those Schoolcraft students that are looking for any of the four degree choices that we have. That way they can stay on a familiar campus and won’t have to worry about traveling back and forth to Toledo. It’s a great option for students to stay close to home,” said UT Enrollment Services Specialist Joe Guziolek.
Programs offered through the partnership are priced at WSU or UT prices, and financial aid and scholarships are available. Word-of-mouth has been the primary marketing strategy used to educate the public about the agreement, but Jeffress said that banners and radio broadcastings will help spread the word in the fall semester.
“It’s going to bring more students to Schoolcraft. I’m pursuing the Wayne State portion of the SC to U partnership and I get to use my Schoolcraft tuition rates and apply more of my business classes towards my degree from Wayne State,” said Schoolcraft business major Ryan Lamont. “I only have to take [some of] their classes to get my bachelors over there. I can take more classes here with Schoolcraft rates than I can at Wayne State paying thousands of dollars.”
Schoolcraft’s continual emphasis on providing the highest quality educational opportunities to its students is evident with the addition of the Jeffress Center. Its integration into the campus expansion and development promises positive results in the future.