Buildings at Northwest Vista for new population

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By Ryan Johnston

The grounds of Northwest Vista College soon will be filled with modern buildings and new opportunities for their students.

However, the road to get the new buildings was not easy.

Bexar County voters approved a $450 million bond proposal for an Alamo Community College District capital improvement program in November 2005.

Northwest Vista obtained $106 million from the bond; however, because of inflation, all campuses lost some planned improvements.

Dean Dr. Deb Morgan, Northwest Vista’s construction liaison, said two projects were cancelled, the childcare center and the parking garage.

“We lost some value because of construction cost,” she said. “We are going to do two projects to build the childcare center and parking lots, so they are not cancelled, just deferred.”

She said that only 30-60 students each semester use the Ray Ellison Family  Center at Palo Alto College.

“So, we asked ourselves, what can we put off that won’t affect most of our students,” she said.

The main problem at Northwest Vista, she said, is that there are not enough classrooms for students, adding that most of the classes are taught in portables.

“That’s how desperate we are for classrooms,” she said.

There will be five new buildings at Northwest Vista, she said.

The buildings will include the Juniper Hall Academic Center, which will house academic labs, in addition to classrooms for English, reading, math, education and English-as-a-second-language.

The Redbud Hall Library and Learning Resources will house the library and several classrooms on the third floor for multimedia, music, art, mass communications and gaming. Both of these buildings are expected to be finished by July 2008.

The Cypress Campus Center will house the campus cafeteria, the bookstore and student success, including: advising, financial aid, bursar’s office, registration, student engagement office, services for students with disabilities, testing center, college orientation program, career services and a multicultural center.

The Live Oak Hall Academic Center will house classrooms for laboratories in biology, biotechnology, chemistry, geology, physics, astronomy, engineering, upper-division math, history, government, sociology, anthropology, geography, psychology and speech. These buildings are expected to be finished by December 2008.

Finally, the Palmetto Fine and Performing Arts Center will contain a 400-seat theater, a dance recital hall, a music recital hall, a black box theater and classrooms for dance, art, music and theater. This building is expected to be completed July 2009.

“Our campus was built for 3,000-4,000 students, but we hold 13,000 students,” she said. “It gets so bad that we have to start to turn students away. By June, we are pretty much full.”

With these new buildings, she said, they will be able to serve more students and offer more sections of all classes.

“We have no fine arts facility, no theater, drawing or painting,” she said. “This will create a full service for our students, and I couldn’t be more thrilled.”

A lake will also be made for the campus, following the example of other man-made lakes, such as Canyon and Medina lakes. This lake will have a dam to conserve water and prevent flooding to the buildings.

For more information, visit the Northwest Vista Web site at


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