TCCS begins planning for 7C-wide student center

Two students pose for the camera in front of a board with stickers.
Students pose at September’s “Back to Your Future” event while responding to surveys about what should be included in a potential 7C student center. (Courtesy: The Claremont Colleges Services)

The Claremont Colleges Services is planning a consortium-wide student center, and it’s looking for community members’ input as the process gets underway.

Representatives from TCCS and its consultant for the project, architecture firm Ayers Saint Gross, were on campus this week to hear from students, faculty and staff through a series of open workshops and focus groups.

“The new TCC Student Center is being developed under the guidance of TCCS and will serve as a new hub for student activity on campus and provide a centrally located home for some of the TCCS student services,” a TCCS news release said. “The future Student Center is intended to be a new type of building on campus — one that is forward thinking and supports diverse student needs in innovative ways and creates a welcoming home for all.”

At locations around the 7Cs, community members were offered the opportunity on Tuesday to express their priorities on the conceptual building’s indoor and outdoor spaces and the resources contained within, including a potential makerspace. The consortium is considering subjects like “health and wellness, student organizations, spiritual and cultural resources, affinity groups, collaboration and learning outside the classroom” as potential areas for the center to address, according to the release.

At a similar workshop last month hosted at TCCS’ “Back to Your Future” event, 44 percent of respondents said the sense of community at the 7Cs “needs improvement,” while 36 percent called it “okay” and just 4 percent deemed it “great,” according to a graphic shared at the open houses.

Spaces for relaxing and “programmed outdoor space” were the most popular priorities for a new student center in September, according to the graphic.

Corey Rothermel, a senior associate at Ayers Saint Gross, told TSL the firm will continue assisting TCCS in gauging community members’ priorities for the space through January.

“We’re still in the visioning, big picture stage,” Rothermel said. “At the end, we’ll have a conceptual list of what the project wants to be.”

After visioning, the process will proceed to programming, where staff begin translating the needs they uncover into individual elements for the center, followed by architectural design and construction, according to Rothermel. With so many elements still up in the air, the timeline isn’t yet clear on when the new center’s doors might open or where it will be located.

Students will have more opportunities to weigh in on the center in the coming months. In addition to in-person events, TCCS will host a survey on its website, which is currently soliciting open comments about the proposal.

“Student, faculty and staff participation is needed to develop a collective vision,” the release said. “These stakeholders are the experts on campus and should set the direction of this new building that will serve future generations of students.”

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