The InterAmerican Campus is expanding. Construction, which is currently in the first phase, is expected to be finished by the fall term.
The expansion is being made at the InterAmerican Plaza, which the College purchased in June of 2012. The building is located next to IAC.
“It’s going to help [students] so much,” said Joanne Bashford, the campus president at IAC. “I can’t tell you how excited I am. I am thrilled.”
The building cost $25 million and construction costs are projected to be about $51.7 million. The expansion will add 20 percent more classrooms.
In the new building, there will be 28 state-of-the-art classrooms and a food court with expanded dining options so students do not have to drive out to find food. There is also going to be a larger bookstore with more than 2,200 square feet of retail area, and a large conference space with capacity for up-to 500 guests.
The Honor’s College, School of Business, School of Education, and Student Life will be moved there, along with a study room, a faculty workroom furnished with the latest technology and equipment, and a student lounge. The Learning Commons, a library, computer courtyard, and tutoring labs all in one, will also be located in the new building. There will also be a student recreation and gaming room.
There will be lively exterior spaces such as an outdoor classroom, lush greenery, and seating for dining, studying, and socializing.
“I think it’s great that we’re going to have additional space,” said Sol Gonzalez, dean of students at IAC.
The idea for the expansion came along because the campus has outgrown its current space. There is not an area for students to meet, faculty have to share offices. There is only one cafe and a small bookstore.
The campus sits one square block with about 269,409 net square footage on nine acres. The current building surrounds a courtyard. There are only three floors. Nineteen thousand students attend the campus annually. In comparison, Kendall Campus is 185 acres and North Campus is 245 acres.
“I definitely think it’s going to bring more students into the campus,” said Natalie Estrada, 20, a business administration major at the campus. “It’s going to provide a whole bunch of more opportunities. There’s going to be more activities and stuff, students are going to be more involved and I know there’s going to be more classes, so there’s probably going to be more enrollment, more professors too.”
Accounting major, Gregory Cabrera, 21, thinks the expansion is necessary for the small campus.
“It will put it on par with other campuses in terms of size and how they can handle more people,” Cabrera said. “I look forward to the restaurants they’ll have there, the parking space, and I believe there’s going to be a larger bookstore.”
Estrada is excited about the expansion. She just wished it would have happened sooner.
“I think it’s going to be a really good opportunity, honestly,” Estrada said. “It’s too bad that I’m leaving, I wish it would have already been here.”