A new 11,200 square-foot facility broke ground Thursday evening on 11th Street in Parker, part of an initiative to put community college dollars into use for the community in the Parker area.
Arizona Western College Parker Community Center will be used as classroom space some of the time, with a feature allowing the classrooms to convert into a large meeting space that will be able to accommodate 250 seated guests. The idea is to allow the facility to serve as a venue to host different events in the community and for the use of private entities which need a meeting space.
In addition to the four main classrooms in the center of the building, there will also be a fitness center, a prep kitchen to cater for large events, and office space. There is an ambitious completion schedule slated for November 2016.
Outgoing AWC President Glenn Mayle told a gathered crowd that he was glad to see the groundbreaking before his tenure at the college was over, and joked that he wanted to see the building completed before the Hampton Inn is completed across the street.
Katheline Ocampo, Associate Dean for La Paz County Services at AWC, said she is excited about the programs and community events the new facility would support. “We will continue to meet the current needs of our community and explore how AWC will be able to better improve services offered to the community,” she said.
The new Community Center will sit adjacent to the AWC Parker Learning Center, which opened for the first time in March 2009. The new building will host several community partners, according to AWC, including the La Paz County Career Center, and a newly vacant area will become a student lounge.
One classroom in the new AWC Parker Community Center will be designed as a multipurpose room, and at times will house the Fire Science program, with special storage and access points for training purposes. The Fitness Center will provide a large divided space designed to accommodate both stationary equipment and wellness classes like Zumba.
The total cost is estimated to be around $1.8 million.