Weatherford College media release – August 22 will be a very special day for Weatherford College. That morning at 11:30, WC’s Board of Trustees, faculty and staff, community supporters, and most importantly, students will celebrate the grand opening of the College’s new Academic Building.
Begun in early fall of last year, the 40,000-square-foot facility was turned over officially to the College by contractors earlier this week.
The Academic Building has 10 classrooms, two large lecture halls and an Academic Research Center on the first floor. On the second floor, there are eight science laboratories with accompanying storage rooms, a faculty secretary office, a laboratory technician office, a conference room and 13 faculty offices.
The complex will also feature an impressive flag display, including the flags of the five military branches, as well as WC’s historic “Old Main” bell and arch.
“Weatherford College has always had pride in the superior quality of our faculty and staff; now we can have the same type of pride in our facilities,” said Dr. Kevin Eaton, WC president. “We have a 43-year-old campus that looks new, as well as a state-of-the-art academic building that can rival any new educational facility in the state. Thanks to our Board of Trustees, our facilities are now poised to serve Parker County and our surrounding communities for decades to come.”
The event on August 22 will begin at 11:30 a.m. on the southeast side of the facility, which is located just west of the Doss Student Center. After a brief Weatherford Chamber of Commerce ribbon-cutting, the festivities will move inside for a short program, followed by tours of the facility.
Some of the courses taught in the new structure will include anatomy and physiology, zoology, microbiology, botany, physics, geology, chemistry, astronomy, meteorology, English, history and government.
“Academics is the engine driving the college experience,” said Dr. Richard Bowers, vice president of instruction and student affairs. “Our new, fully ADA-compliant Academic Building with its state-of-the-art science laboratories will provide greater opportunity to strengthen student academics, particularly in the core curriculum courses.”
The structure was designed by architects from Fort Worth-based Hahnfeld Hoffer Stanford, and the general contractor is Hill & Wilkinson, a firm based in Dallas. Actual construction costs for the Academic Building were $6.5 million. Including furniture, fixtures and equipment and architectural, engineering and other associated fees, and a new parking lot on the southeast side of campus, the estimate of costs going into the project was $9 million. College officials say the actual price tag for the total construction project will come in well under budget.
After years of limited space for general academic courses, the College will be taking advantage of the new facility immediately. In the upcoming fall 2012 semester, the College has scheduled classes in every room of the Academic Building beginning at 8 a.m. and continuing until 9:30 p.m. on normal class days.
“The new building is aptly named,” said Michael Endy, dean of academics. “It will be the academic heart of the campus. The building is equipped with comfortable learning spaces and modern presentation systems, providing our faculty and students state-of-the-art environments for teaching and learning. Our new facility, with Wi-Fi throughout and dedicated complements of iPads in classrooms, encourages instructors and students to engage in a shared experience of inquiry, exploration and discovery.”
WC Board sets Tax Rate, Approves Budget
At a special called meeting Aug. 18, the Weatherford College Board of Trustees set the 2011 tax rate and adopted the 2011-12 budget.
To develop the budget, which was approved at $48,529,064 for Fiscal Year 2011-12, WC’s faculty and staff were faced with absorbing approximately $4 million in cuts in state funding. The College made drastic cuts in expenditures for equipment, supplies, travel and personnel-related categories, including no pay raises for current employees. The trustees approved a 2011 ad valorem tax rate of $0.11195, consisting of the maintenance and operations rate of $0.10421 and the debt service rate of $0.00774. That takes it only to the effective tax rate, which is the rate necessary to generate the same amount of funds as last year’s. WC’s current ad valorem tax rate is 33.9 percent lower than the statewide average for the 50 Texas community college districts. “College personnel have worked very hard to develop a suitable budget for the coming year,” said Frank Martin, WC Board of Trustees chair. “Given the economy and state funding reductions, we have developed the most stringent budget and stayed at the lowest tax rate possible that still will provide funding necessary for the fundamental needs of our students, employees and the communities we serve. Our taxpayer supporters deserve the best value Weatherford College can provide.” The next regularly scheduled meeting of the WC Board of Trustees is Sept. 8, 2011.