Makeovers in progress at three campus lecture halls, thanks to provincial 50th anniversary funding

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FMS director Ralph Scholz (second from left) stands with members of the construction crew in Yerich Auditorium as work is underway in July.

The College is turning up the heat on modernizing its learning spaces this summer, thanks to previously announced provincial funding in honour of the 50th anniversary of Colleges across Ontario.

Work is currently underway to transform three popular College lecture halls: the Secord Room and Simcoe 212 at the Welland Campus, and the Yerich Auditorium at the Niagara-on-the-Lake Campus.

The $1.2-million price tag for these classroom renewals will be supported by the province’s previous $1.85 million funding announcement, which took place in April during Colleges Week. The funding was granted to NC to invest in new technology, equipment and learning spaces that will enhance the student experience. The remaining funds from the April announcement are earmarked to be used for academic equipment.

“These classrooms are all well used across all program areas, and they’re in need of an upgrade,” said FMS director Ralph Scholz. “We consulted with faculty to re-design the spaces to suit their teaching methodologies and delivery.”

In Yerich Auditorium, it will be goodbye to theatre seating, hello to high-tech laptop tables. The auditorium – which is not only used as instructional space but for internal and external activities – will be completely revamped  including new tablet tables featuring laptop seating outfitted with power (electrical capabilities) in the seats.

Faculty will use a brand new podium and lectern with controls, a new sound system and video capture – handy for presentations. It will include a 4K projection unit and a screen which will be four times brighter, as well as two side screens.

The auditorium will meet the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) standards by including space for wheelchair seating.

The room will also feature touch screens, new flooring, new ceiling, new dimmable lighting, and acoustic layered panels for improved sound.

There will be no more ‘tiers’ in Simcoe 212. The former tiered lecture hall will be removed to create a flexible learning space which could be used for lectures or reconfigured for group work. The room will feature tables and chairs on wheels and pod areas along the wall. Whiteboards will be placed all around the room. Power will be featured all along the perimeter of the room as well as the floor.  Screens will not cover the whiteboards and the room will also feature acoustic panels.

The room will be ‘flipped’ so faculty will no longer stand under a low overhang. The podium will meet AODA standards and powered with raising and lowering capabilities. The room will also include improved wi-fi and all new flooring.

Upgrades to The Secord Room include new seating and tables – outfitted with power – as well as new acoustic ceiling, new flooring, acoustic panels in the walls, a better sound system,  new dimmable lighting, and  two high-definition projectors, as well as two brighter screens.

The floor area will be moved back to create a greater separation between the lecture space and learning space.  Faculty will be able to use whiteboards which will no longer be covered by the screen.

All work on the three classroom transformations is scheduled to be completed before the fall semester begins in September.

As part of the College’s Campus Redevelopment Project, work is also underway in more than 60 classrooms and 12 computer labs at NC, as well as office and programming relocations from the Niagara Falls Campus.

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