New community center opens at AWC

Construction is just about completed and the doors have been thrown open at Arizona Western College’s new community center next to its La Paz Learning Center in Parker.

On Monday afternoon, the ribbon was cut and speeches by dignitaries were made outside the new building on 11th Street in Parker. It’s an area of town in transformation, with the AWC building next door opened in 2009 and construction on the new Hampton Inn going on across the street.

The 11,200 square feet building includes office space, a gym which will be open to the public, a trades classroom and 4 central partioned classrooms which can be converted into a large meeting space that will be able to accommodate 250 seated guests, dining style. Each of these rooms has its own audiovisual system with speakers and projectors that can be linked together for larger events that utilize the entire space. There is also a connected prep kitchen for catering.

Combined with the larger facility next door, the new building represents a recent infusion of AWC bond cash back into the Parker area, an answer by AWC’s board and administration to criticism in past years that the college was not investing enough back in our area and that funds were simply being ‘sent to Yuma’. The total investment for the new building is around $1.8 million. The combination of the two properties side-by-side give the impression of a mini campus, with an easement in between that could be useful for events that need outdoor space.

Speakers on Monday included Associate Dean Kathy Ocampo, AWC President Dr. Daniel Corr, Governing Board member Richard Lamb, County Supervisor D.L. Wilson, CRIT Councilmember Amelia Flores and Vice President for Learning Services Dr. Linda Elliott-Nelson.

According to Ocampo, there will be a system for booking the rooms at the new community center that is similar to one used for AWC’s Yuma campus.

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