For the first time, Alaska Christian College will have something they’ve never had before — a computer and science lab.
The Soldotna-based ACC has added three new classrooms to their campus — a computer lab, a science lab and a regular classroom. The official opening of the addition will take place today at a dedication ceremony from 4 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. An open house will be from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.
“We are pushing forward,” ACC president Keith Hamilton said. “Our next goal is to offer an Associate of Arts degree. In order to do that we need to offer a science curriculum.”
The college’s goal is to obtain accreditation by 2016, which will allow students to transfer credits earned at ACC to a different educational institution. ACC is currently in this process, and will have an answer by February.
The building, which came with a price tag of $980,000 was designed by Peter Klauder & Co. Architects, Inc based out of Kenai. Hamilton raved about the architects’ job.
“(They) did a fabulous job,” Hamilton said. “They met our needs and were wonderful in perceiving what native education needs to have building resource wise.”
The funds were allocated through a Title III Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian Serving Instutions Grant.
The construction of the building was done by Blazy Construction based in Soldotna. Randall Nelson, the project manager for Blazy, said he “really enjoys” projects that increase what the community can provide.
“It’s a pretty striking building,” Nelson said. “It has a lot of character and I think they went a long ways with what (ACC) can do.”
Nelson said the project was very team-orientated, with everyone from each aspect of the job working together.
Another member of the project team was Bruce Gabriel, of Big G Electric based in Soldotna. Hamilton said Gabriel donated some of the time, as with Blazy and Klauder, to make the numbers work out correctly with what ACC could afford.
The computer lab, otherwise known as Bering Straits, will house 28 brand new computers, Hamilton said. Each of the three classrooms were given nicknames by the students. The science lab’s nickname is Northern Lights and the classroom’s nickname is Alyeska.
The classrooms will all be wireless, and each include “SMART Board” technology. The classrooms will be fully functional after Thanksgiving.
Since the grant does not cover furnishings, Hamilton said the furnishings will cost around $10,000. But the college is receiving help from just about everywhere, from Florida to Hawaii, Hamilton said.
“We had a group of junior highschoolers that raised $1800 in Minnesota,” Hamilton said. “And then we had a 75-member church in Florida that sent us a check to help with the cost.”
Hamilton said there was also a church in Hawaii that helped out. Help came locally as well.
“6 Roblees donated the shipping from the lower 48 to Alaska, so that was a major donor,” Hamilton said. “We also had two families that made gifts for that to happen.”