SHAWN McCREA |The Ranger
Steady progress on the excavation behind the College Union Building. Construction on the Washington Street Campus started Spring 2021. Upon completion, the art department will be relocated to a newly-built basement, the Badger Cafe is to be upgraded into a small scale restaurant, as well as other various cosmetic remodeling.
By Jeff Sanchez and Daniel Ambriz
Renovations to Amarillo College’s Washington Street Campus are in the works. Over the next couple of months, students and staff will see changes to the College Union Building, Student Services Center, Russell Hall and Carter Fitness Center.
“We have seven projects either 100% designed or under construction,” Danny Smith, Master Plan program manager, said.
The renovations to Carter Fitness Center will include a new workout area, locker room, office spaces, an intercollegiate competition women’s volleyball venue, new lighting, air conditioning and a new look inside and out.
AC will be adding concessions for the intercollegiate volleyball games. Academic adviser, Pamela Valdez, said she is looking forward to the makeover. “I’m excited about the changes, I believe our staff and students deserve it and I think the new concessions will be great. I heard they will make protein shakes and I would love to try one.”
Carter Fitness Center will be closed this semester but students who were looking forward to starting their gym routines this fall will still be able to, despite the renovations. “A small fitness center is going to be relocated to the Bible Chair on 22nd Street,” Smith said.
Students said they are ready for the changes. “I feel like it will be great for people who do actually go in there and workout or even just to have some fun with friends,” Melanie Herrera, a business administration major, said.
College officials also plan to relocate the fine arts department to what is known as the College Union Building, or CUB, basement. This project has led to the temporary relocation of the bookstore and Badger Café. “It should be completed by October and everybody will have to find it again, back in its original location,” Smith said.
He noted that COVID has impacted construction. “We are currently experiencing some delivery time delays, The CUB project is about a month behind schedule,” Smith said.
Another aspect of the project is focused on increasing parking. Smith said the college is negotiating with the City of Amarillo to rebuild Parking Lot 10 and construct about 50 to 60 new parking spots between the Byrd Business Building and Memorial Park.
Parking Lot 9, located on the corner of Jackson and 24th Avenue, will be reconfigured to open up more spaces.
That lot will be held off so it can serve as a staging area for the Washington Street Campus HVAC project, Smith said. “We don’t want to set a bunch of heavy equipment, tractors and forklifts and tear it all up right after we rebuilt it.”
AC students said they are looking forward to the expanded parking. “I actually get here super early so I can find a close spot,” Ricardo Romero, a biology major, said. “One of my classes is at 10:30 a.m. and I usually get here at 7:30 a.m.”
“It is very crazy especially with how some people park,” Julian Hernandez, a law enforcement major, said. “I have seen a lot of cars that are halfway out into the parkways.”
College officials plan to be done with the construction by next year.
(Corrected Sept. 17)