Promoting higher education — Oklahoma City Community College sees its outreach efforts enhanced, thanks to Capitol Hill Center renovation.
Many individuals can be intimidated at the prospect of stepping onto a college campus. To allay those fears, Oklahoma City Community College operates Capitol Hill Center, a multicultural program which serves as a transitional stepping stone, encouraging people to further their education and providing them with free tools ranging from computer labs and free Internet access to GED prep classes, workforce development and English as a second language classes. The center serves as a major outreach initiative to the area’s high-poverty neighborhood, and classes are frequently delivered in Spanish and Korean, as well as English.
To make its program even more appealing to the surrounding community, Oklahoma City Community College committed to a multi-phase renovation program to turn two dilapidated, 50-plus-year-old buildings into a new showpiece home. The first phase of the project completely renovated the lower floors of the two adjacent structures, including one which had a partially collapsed roof. The first contains a basement first floor and mezzanine; the second three full floors and a basement, for a combined total of 40,000 SF. Phase one encompassed a renovation of the first two floors of these buildings. The damaged roof also was replaced with a new terraced rooftop plaza, which can be used for outdoor classes and special events like movie nights or receptions.
The project began with stabilizing and renovating the buildings’ exteriors with energy-efficient glazing and graffiti-resistant materials. The two structures were then connected via circulation space that accounted for the 34″ difference in heights between the two floor slabs.
A large community room with its own direct access can be utilized by students and can also be rented by the general public for special events. Fronting the room is a small gallery area, creating opportunities to display artwork created by Oklahoma City Community College students and the general community. Also included in the renovation are administrative offices and several large, state-of-the-art classrooms.
In addition to education, the renovations also serve a broader community purpose, in that they will serve as a catalyst in the revitalization of the low-income, heavily-minority Capitol Hill district surrounding the two buildings.