If the doors to opportunity had a physical address, it would be 6220 East Texas Street in Bossier City.
At least that’s what Chancellor Rick Bateman has thought since the recent unveiling of the new Learning Commons at Bossier Parish Community College. The Learning Commons, formerly known as BPCC’s Library, has become a welcoming and engaging environment, designed to enhance student success through designated areas for study, research, and tutoring.
Its focal point is the technology. Students now have access to updated computers, wireless networking, and a new state-of-the-art scan and print station. BPCC has tripled the number of computers available for student use, which is something Bateman has already seen an increase in.
“A lot of our students don’t have that resource at home,” Bateman said. “Our students deserve this. They deserve the very best. This is somewhere they can come to achieve their goals.”
The Learning Commons also has a classroom space for library orientations, quiet study space on the second floor, relaxed seating areas, and study rooms for both large and small group collaboration. Brenda Brantley, BPCC’s Dean/Professor of Learning Resources, has seen an increase in student traffic throughout the new space.
“The renovations did exactly what we wanted it to do,” Brantley said. “The Learning Commons idea was a vision of the library staff. It now provides a unique learning environment for students and gives them an area where they can interact with faculty and staff as well as with technology.”
In 2014, BPCC announced that it had received a three-year investment from BHP Billiton for the reconfiguration and development of the learning center. BHP Billiton’s $300,000 investment launched an immediate plan to increase student access to a more technology-based learning environment.
After the renovations were complete, the Learning Commons now provides a unique learning environment for students and gives them an area where they can interact with faculty and staff as well as with technology. The campus also received a donation from the Alta and John Franks Foundation.
Officials say these investments create a positive legacy and allows the college to be a leader in a revolutionary approach to achieving student success.
Ben Ziker, BHP Billiton’s Natural Gas Operations Manager for Northwest Louisiana & Arkansas, said, “[BHP Billiton] is interested in fostering education, health, safety and the environment. This [Learning Commons] fits right in with that. We try to pick good things that will have a positive impact on the community. We’re happy to partner with BPCC. It’s a fantastic facility.”
Ziker said the facility presents an opportunity for more students to engage in their education for future success.
He added, “[Students] can build their education here and put themselves into a better position to be more competitive in their job industry. That only helps the local region and area.”
BPCC also announced the public phase of its Capital Campaign: “Building Success Together,” from which the funding for the Learning Commons was made available. The $15 million capital campaign is an extension of BPCC’s vision to become the preeminent community college in the nation.
An immensely successful private phase of this campaign has raised $12.5 million already.
“This is an exciting era in BPCC’s history and this campaign demonstrates the community’s commitment to helping the College fulfill its educational mission…The campaign (includes) opportunities to support student success initiatives, scholarships, building projects, and naming opportunities,” read an online message from Chancellor Bateman about the campaign.
Visit www.bpcc.edu/foundation for more information on how to support Bossier Parish Community College.