The U.S. and Texas flags adorn the atrium of this college’s Victory Center alongside wreaths and the service flags of each branch of the armed forces. Beyond the first floor waiting area are the entrances to Veterans Success TRiO branch and the reception areas for the center’s Veteran Affairs staff. The $7.6 million facility will officially open May 1. Thomas Macias (360 Photo).
The center will consolidate veteran support processes “from application to graduation,” the facility’s new director said.
By Thomas Macias
The Victory Center, a $7.6 million facility serving this college’s military community and whose planning and construction have been over two years in the making, will officially open with a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 10 a.m. May 1.
The two-story, 20,000-square-foot building is at East Dewey Place and Main Avenue on the northeast side of the campus.
State Sen. José Menéndez, D-San Antonio, who secured the funding for the center from the Texas Legislature will serve as the keynote speaker for the grand opening, Director Tammy Micallef said in an April 18 interview.
He also spoke at the ground-breaking ceremony Feb. 24, 2016.
Following the ribbon-cutting, the center will be open for tours and walk-throughs, Micallef said.
She said the facility is “dedicated to all military-affiliated students here.
The center is intended to consolidate into one building all the processes veterans require “from application to graduation,” Micallef said.
Micallef said these services will be available to veterans, active service members and family members eligible for education benefits.
Services at the Victory Center will eventually include academic advising, benefits certification, disability claims representatives, mental health counseling, case management, tutoring, career services and classrooms, Micallef said.
The first floor of the building will house staff advisers, certifying officials and the Veterans Success TRiO branch, Micallef said.
Micallef said in fall 2018 the Victory Center will begin to host military science classes for ROTC officer candidates.
When completed, the second floor will contain a den with cooking and eating areas, a lounge and a tutoring area with study rooms and quiet space.
About 3,500 military-affiliated students enroll per year at this college, Micallef said, making up about 10 percent of this college’s student population.
The journey for the Victory Center began in July 2015 when Menéndez appeared before the Texas Senate and successfully advocated for funds to upgrade veterans facilities and training centers at St. Philip’s College, Westside Education and Training Center and this college.
To make way for the new facility, the business, trade and industry center was demolished in November 2016.
Construction of the Victory Center began in December 2016.
Micallef is a veteran who served 21 years in the Navy and retired as a chief petty officer.
Micallef began her tenure as director in December after serving as director of the Approving Agency for Veterans Education in Austin.
Micallef said her priorities since her arrival have been the completion of the center and the transition of services from existing office areas primarily in Moody Learning Center.
Micallef said the Victory Center had a “soft opening” on April 16 when the staff of this college’s Veteran’s Affairs office began transitioning their operations to the new building.
The 15-person Victory Center staff is composed of academic advisers, an advising team lead, four VA certifying officials, a VA coordinator and a part-time staff member.
For more information about the VA office, call 210-486-0111.
This college’s Victory Center is on the northeast side of the campus. Construction personnel are finishing the landscaping. The $7.6 million facility will officially open with a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 10 a.m. May 1. Thomas Macias (360 Photo).