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      Local college seeks more student-friendly campus

      Some big decisions were discussed Monday night that will impact the future of Northwestern Michigan College in Traverse City.

      Monday night, NMC board members reviewed details of a new master plan, which will impact the overall campus-experience for students. They looked at a variety of infrastructure improvements and ideas for future campus expansion.

      Vice President of NMC Finance and Administration Vicki Cook says, ??"The goal of the master plan is to help us align services for students in a more concise way and look at all our buildings and strategize the best use for them... identifying areas to grow the campus..."

      So earlier this year, NMC hired a company to visit every single building on campus -- evaluating each facility's wants, needs, and wish-lists for the future. The Fine Arts Building is one of those, and under the master plan it could expand 6,500 square feet to accommodate more rehearsal, office and storage space. The Physical Education Center could also get re-vamped, adding 9,000 square feet.

      Cook says, "Our locker rooms, basketball courts the whole building it gets a tremendous amount of use. It just needs to be refreshed and redesigned..."

      West Hall Student Center is also a focus for board members. Under the master plan, they??re looking at expanding dining options and creating a one-stop shop for student registration and financial aid needs. Another concept in the works is fixing up the old campus apartments and possibly building a new residential hall.

      Cook explains, "Our student residential hall this year is fully occupied. In order to expand on that strategic goal to bring more international students here, we need to expand our residence halls.??

      Alleviating parking and traffic congestion is a big concern for students and administrators. To do so, the master plan looks to expand the most commonly-used lots like Aspen, Birch and Cedar.

      Board members were simply reviewing these concepts Monday night, and no decisions or costs were discussed. They'll meet again at the end of October to hear the final proposals.