New Technology Center in August at the Westside Community Center

posted Jul 5, 2017, 9:13 AM by Granger Meador   [ updated Jul 5, 2017, 9:13 AM ]
A transformation is taking place within the walls of the Westside Community Center to better serve Bartlesville students.

The WCC’s former computer lab will soon give way to the Hans Schmoldt Technology Center, which will offer a wide array of new features – computers, an interactive white board, furniture, flooring and branding. In addition, the technology center, which is named in recognition of a $50,000 donation from the Schmoldt Foundation, will offer roughly twice as much space as the computer lab which preceded it.

“This is a very exciting project,” says Ron Tribble, who serves as the board president of the WCC. “It includes an ambitious timeline, but we fully expect to meet it.”

Work began on the Hans Schmoldt Technology Center earlier this year, and it is expected to be ready for use in August, just in time for the start of the 2017-18 academic year. Once it is ready, area students will be able to utilize the new space at the Westside Community Center – which is located at 501 S. Bucy Ave. in Bartlesville – for a wide array of academic activities. While the technology center should be an excellent space in which to work on homework and other school-related projects, it will feature classes and workshops with a strong emphasis on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) programs that schools often accentuate as well.

Educators will be brought in to lead the special classes and workshops – which will be advertised once they are scheduled – while technology center “helpers” will always be on hand to assist students with any needs that they might have, such as how to best utilize the facility or understand a particular subject.

The WCC has long had a computer lab, but the area was a bit cramped while both the hardware and software were beginning to show their age. WCC leadership thought they could do better and developed a plan to do so. The plan called for the old computer lab to be gutted and to double in space, to a little more than 600 square feet. So, one of the first steps in the project was to take down a wall which divided the computer lab and another room, which was cleared for annexation.

“We want the students who utilize the Hans Schmoldt Technology Center to be able to work in comfort,” says Morris McCorvey, who is the director of the WCC. “With the added space, we’ll have several computer stations for individual work as well as plenty of areas for collaborative work. Students work – and learn – in different ways, and we want to be able to accommodate all of them.”

Armed with an IT background, WCC technology committee member David Lewis Jr. helped to outfit the new technology center. Once it is up and running, it will feature WiFi-enabled Google Chromebox and iMac devices. There will be 16 individual workstations in all, in addition to the collaborative workspaces. Lewis, whose wife Tiffany is on the WCC board, was instrumental in selecting the suspended light fixtures which will be utilized in the lab. The sleek carpet design will complement the WCC’s prominently displayed green and gray logo that will decorate one of the walls. Lewis had a hand in picking out the modern desks, chairs and tables that will be found in the space.

“I’m excited about the Hans Schmoldt Technology center and grateful to the Schmoldt family for investing in the future of the Bartlesville community,” says Lewis. “The mission of the WCC is to educate and empower the underserved in our community. This technology center and the accompanying programs seek to educate Bartlesville students about the disciplines of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

“Through a focused early-exposure STEM programing model, we hope to empower students by giving them confidence and experience which will translate into them choosing a STEM discipline as a major in college.”

Granger Meador, who is now in charge of technology for Bartlesville Public Schools, said, "This is an exciting new development that will assist our students as we transition to digital learning. Starting in August, all district freshmen will receive a Chromebook for use at school and at home. That program will expand in later years to include all secondary school students. As our teachers transition to assignments that are assigned, completed, and submitted online, community after-hours programs like the Westside Community Center's new Technology Center will be a boon for students who do not have wireless internet access at home. Chromebooks can still be used for some functions without WiFi, but having access to Chromeboxes with full internet access at the Westside Community Center will provide greater educational opportunities for students after school hours."

Those wishing to learn more about the WCC, which is a non-profit organization and a member agency of the Bartlesville Regional United Way, and all that it has to offer can go online to http://www.wccbville.org/ or follow the organization via social media on Facebook and Twitter.
Hans Schmoldt Technology Center
Artist rendering of the new Hans Schmoldt Technology Center that will open in August at Bartlesville's Westside Community Center