By Emily Prestwood
After the Hereford branch of Amarillo College opened its doors in August 2005, employees are welcoming students to a new facility: the Everett and Mabel McDougal Hinkson Memorial Campus.
“We were at Shirley School, which is an old elementary school next to the high school,” said Daniel Esquivel, executive director. “Our new location is in the northwest part of Hereford. We’ve been open since the beginning of this month, so we started our spring semester here.”
Esquivel said a unique part of the new facility is its water feature in the main lobby.
“It was a requirement from the main donor,” he said. “We are very fortunate to have a water feature that provides a nice, soothing atmosphere for our students.”
The opportunity for students to have areas to study and relax brings a different outlook to the college, Esquivel said.
“(The students) feel like this campus brings a new college identity to our community, and it brings an identity to themselves as well,” he said. “As college students, they feel that they are now part of a real college.”
Joei Reyne, a linguistics major, said he enjoys the new location.
“It’s better because we actually have a spot to congregate,” Reyne said.
Sandra Apodaca, a psychology major, said she feels more like a college student in the new facility.
“It has more spaces to study,” she said. “We have more room to do things.”
Esquivel said student attendance has grown significantly since 2005.
“We offer all of your basic requirements that are needed for all the core courses and all majors,” he said. “We also offer some specific programs such as your technical programs. We are offering truck driving, industrial maintenance and renewable energy.”
Esquivel said classes are offered at all times of the day, similar to other AC campuses.
“We start early in the morning and offer classes throughout the day, afternoon and, of course, our most popular times during the evenings where many of our students are able to come to school outside of work.”
Campus officials are planning a variety of activities such as seminars to help students with tutoring and academic advancement. They also plan to mimic events that happen on the Amarillo campuses, Esquivel said.
Marco Munoz, a general studies major, said the new facility offers an environment that gives him a positive outlook.
“I’ve become more eager for class,” Munoz said.
Esquivel said he hopes to reach out to the community as well.
“For our community, we offer many personal enrichment classes in areas such as photography and cooking classes,” he said. “Anything that’s going to be nice and fun for the community to partake in.”
Esquivel said the branch is planning an open house community dedication event from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Feb. 16.
“The whole community is invited,” he said. “We want them to come in and take a look around, feel free to see what we’re all about, what we have and be proud of what we accomplished here and what we have set up just for our community and our students.”