Keith Hamilton, president of Alaska Christian College (ACC) joined his staff, students and members of the community last week to give thanks, officially open, and dedicate the beautiful new Student Success and Learning and Resource Center at their Poppy Lane campus. "When we started this project we had no idea that we would end up with the magnificent facility that this has turned out to be for the cause of educating our native Alaskan students. We have three wonderful new classrooms that include state of the art science and computer labs equipped with the latest technology and everything we could ask for, it's just amazing," commented Hamilton. Dr. Hamilton credited Kelly Keating of Blazy Construction and everyone at Klauder & Co. Architects with doing an outstanding job in design and construction.
Hamilton estimates that some 280 students have come from their villages to the ACC campus since its early beginnings in 2001, "The word is slowly getting out and its been difficult because we can only travel to so many villages a year with our recruiters to get the word out, but the results of those efforts are bearing fruit now and word is spreading like wildfire and it's happening," he says. Max Fancher, ACC Student Body President is from Bethel and says he first heard of ACC from his brother, "Don headed off to Soldotna and I was pretty young and only remember him saying he was leaving Bethel and understanding that he was going but not understanding why or really where he was going but I was really curious but didn't know where he was going or what the college was, I was so young I didn't even know what college was for all I knew is that it had the name Christian in it and over the years I kept thinking about it and now here I am," said Fancher who received the keys to the building from Kelly Keating and ceremonially opened the new building. Fancher said the first thing the architects did when they came was to sit down with the students and asked for their ideas of what they would like to see in the building, "And from what you see here you can tell that he listened and put our ideas into his design more than meeting our expectations," he added.
Melanie Shavings of Mekoryuk, Alaska has been a student at ACC for three years and shared the honors of officially opening the doors to the new facility, "I'm taking a course right now called Service Learning which is teaching me how to give back to my community and being thankful for where I am through service, but I'm going to earn a degree in nursing," said Shavings in an interview with the Dispatch. John Lommel was the Title III project director and expressed appreciation for the completion and future utilization of the building, "It's so exciting to see the potential here and have the building done and ready to serve student learning and assist them in flourishing with their education," he said.
Several hundred members of the community turned out for the open house and dedication but Hamilton says anyone is welcome to come out and tour the campus anytime Monday-Friday 9:00am - 4:30pm, "We'd love to show you the newest facility on the Kenai Peninsula for higher education." Funding for the building project was provided by U.S. Department of Education, Title III Program as well as many generous private donors.