By Kenzie Messer
While renovations took place in the former administration building, student services temporarily operated from the multipurpose room in the Humanities building. With the recent completion of the design improvements, student services and advising has moved back to their original location.
The Business Office, Testing Center, and Continuing Education will also move into the redesigned space to create a one-stop student service center.
After visiting several office intensive operations in the Dallas area, Northeast administration developed the idea of having an open office concept. The idea is for students to benefit from the one-stop center by conveniently providing students with maximum services in one location.
“I think things are going to be a lot more efficient for the students,” Vice President of Student and Outreach Services Dr. Josh Stewart said. “With the addition of the testing center, there’s a lot more resources in that building for a student.”
While the setup will be completely different, Stewart said the floor plan will also feature aesthetic elements.
“It’s not similar to what we had, it’s going to be completely different,” said Stewart. “Its spread out and visually appealing.”
The open space concept design did away with the cubicles that once housed faculty in that building. Other changes that were made to the area include the framework and layout of the building and the front counter, the main area in the front lobby of the building. Small waiting areas will also be accessible near the testing center and advising area.
“We wanted that to be very visible,” said Stewart, “that’s where we want people to go when they come in, so they will know where to go, so that’s very prominent.”
Although the different services in the building may seem like a hectic operation, Northeast President Dr. Brad Johnson explained the benefits of the blueprint. After meeting with a team of design engineers, Johnson also said the open concept is ideal to improve teamwork and the dispatch of services when helping students.
“People feel like they are going to be distracted and it will be hard to have private conversations, but in fact, everybody assured us that they really liked it,” said Johnson. “The advantage that they have described in that approach is that people are more encouraged to work as a team and help each other out. What we’re trying to improve is the speed and accuracy with which we help students in those areas.”
However, in order to increase efficiency, Stewart advises students to set appointments with their advisor. Also, when signing into the iPads in the front lobby, students are encouraged to provide a phone number so a text message can be sent informing them that they are ready to be seen.
“As everybody gets used to the change, they will find that it will be almost like a one- stop shop for them to come take care of everything in one big building,” Special Populations Advisor John Coleman said. “It will be organized chaos for a while. I really believe everyone will adapt as they get used to it without a problem. Once it’s all familiar again, students will like it better.”
Testing Center Clerk, Jamille Kelly, said that the students will benefit from the testing center because they won’t have to walk across campus to take their tests. They can just take a few steps and be there.
“I’m hoping that we have a functional place that we will all enjoy working in, and that the students will enjoy,” said Jerene Sarrat, Student Support Servicer. “I think that once we are all in a central location again it will be so much nicer for students.”
Stewart said that communication between all of the different departments has been challenging over the last couple of months, but overall, the various departments have managed to overcome the obstacles.
“Everybody has done a wonderful job working together during the construction phase,” Stewart said. “I think just having everybody back together in one central place that they can get a lot of their information which will be beneficial for the students. We want to provide great service that is quick and efficient, but is also meeting the needs of the student. I’m excited for this new chapter for the college.”