The upgraded Health Science Building will offer a wide array of programs and courses as well as enhance the training level for students. Students will be able to begin classes here in the fall of 2019. <span class='image-credits'>Courtesy St. Clair County Community College</span>

Community college projects creating brighter future for students

The upgraded Health Science Building will offer a wide array of programs and courses as well as enhance the training level for students. Students will be able to begin classes here in the fall 2019.
Although it is one of the oldest community colleges in the country at nearly a century,
St. Clair County Community College is known for its forward thinking, and its leaders are currently working on lifestyle enhancements to meet the needs of all its students across the entire campus.

Leading education

SC4, as the college is commonly known, has always prided itself on making a difference in not only the lives of the students who attend classes there, but also in the community. That difference is about to be felt even more through a number of building initiatives, like student housing.

Student housing on the way

Soon, students will be able to live on campus, like they would if they went to a four-year institution.The new student housing, reclaimed from what was a motel, will be able to house 80 students and will be ready for use by the fall of 2018.

Kirk Kramer, SC4 chief operating officer, says the school "purchased a motel near the campus which is being transformed into student housing." The dorm-style housing is at 504 Huron Ave. in downtown Port Huron, across the street from the college's main campus.

The structure will be ready to house 80 students in time for the fall semester.

Known as The Dock, the college's first dormitory will feature fully-furnished, double-occupancy rooms. It is clear there is a demand for housing as the project, announced in the summer of 2017, already has a waitlist.

For Kramer, the project is all about fulfilling what the college has always been about.

"(We are) providing access and opportunity especially for those who cannot afford to move to a high cost area."

If all goes well, additional student housing may be added in the future.

Health science upgrades

As exciting as the student housing project is, the jewel of the many upgrades happening on campus is the improvements being made to the health sciences arena. SC4 has always been known for its high-quality health field training, especially in the area of nursing.

Computerized mannequins will be setup in the simulation laboratories and will be useful in teaching the technical aspects of health care as well as the real-world human aspects like pain management.With the newly refurbished Health Sciences Building, the college will be able to offer new opportunities and training that match well with the needs of the health field. The new building has created the opportunity to add new areas of study like the Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) program, which trains students how to properly use the MRI and help patients through the process. Plans are in the works to add a respiratory therapy program, too.

The updated classrooms give students the chance to work in a more real-world environment via simulation laboratories. The sim labs include computerized mannequins that react to various medical issues in a human-like manner. The strength of this approach, is realism.

"Students not only learn the technical aspects of what needs to be done, but it provides a very emotional experience closer to what it would be like to work with a real person," Kramer says.

"(This kind of training) provides a much better transition for the learner rather than trying to go straight from a classroom into a real-world situation."

To create the proper atmosphere, the simulations wing will look like a hospital corridor, Kramer says. "That means that students will get a sense of what it is like to interact with the variety of staff they will need to work with in a hospital setting.”

The building will be ready for classes in fall 2019. The renovation is being paid for in part by the state of Michigan.

State-of-the-art fieldhouse

Once used as an ice arena, SC4 completed overhauling a state-of-the-art fieldhouse last summer.

Repurposing the building , Kramer says, "was a great opportunity to partner with the city in recovering a facility and changingThe state of the art fieldhouse has a regulation basketball court and second level running track. its purpose."

The fieldhouse includes a fitness center, walking track, Skippers Athletics Sports Hall of Fame, Port Huron Sports Hall of Fame and the SC4 Tower--a 188-step tower leading to a 360-degree view of Port Huron and the surrounding area. It also features a main court for basketball and volleyball, three cross courts for team practices and tournament play, six locker rooms, batting cages and hitting nets.

The building also hosts events for area schools. The high-quality facility has already attracted attention as it just hosted the opening round of the National Junior College Athletic Association Division II basketball tournament. Hosting the tournament games is a major source of pride for the school and for Kramer, "sixteen of the best teams (were) here and we (provided) a major collegiate experience for all involved, including our surrounding community."

But what is just as exciting as a major event like this, Kramer believes, "is the chance to provide such a high-quality experience for our own student athletes."

Museum gets an overhaul

More campus upgrades are coming in the form of a refurbished Nasr Natural History Museum. Located on the first floor of SC4’s Clara E. Mackenzie Building which itself is newly renovated, the 3,100-square-foot museum houses the largest collection of fossil artifacts in the Thumb region.

Set to re-open soon, one of the new hands-on exhibits at the museum will be an augmented reality sandbox with real-time water flow simulation. The museum is open to the public and used by area schools as a unique field trip experience.

Core values remain unchanged

Even with all of these changes happening at SC4, Kramer says the core values of the college have not changed. Those core values are laser focused on one mission, helping students succeed and moving them toward their next goal.

What helps make this a reality for those who attend SC4 is a dedicated faculty and staff who, Kramer says, are the passionate facilitators of this mission.

Being the only community college in St. Clair County and the surrounding area, Kramer says the school “takes that knowledge very seriously and feels an intense obligation and responsibility to be the best we can be for our students.”

Leaders see the college itself as a part of the fabric of the community and that means servicing various groups in the area. Recent upgrades and those initiatives that are soon to be completed will, according to Kramer, place SC4 in an even better position to fulfill its mission of service to the community and the surrounding area by providing both "access and opportunity, the hallmarks of SC4."

Founded in 1923, the school is one of the oldest community colleges in the country.
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