The new College Instruction Center at Olympic College's Bremerton campus officially opened on Tuesday, the first day of winter quarter.(Photo: Larry Steagall / Kitsap Sun)Buy Photo
BREMERTON — Some of the key cards don't work. There are a few boxes still to be unpacked. Some seats in the theater are yet to be installed.
Much like a home on move-in day, the College Instruction Center has a few loose ends. But on Tuesday, the first day of winter quarter at Olympic College, students and instructors were making themselves at home and relishing the new 70,000-square-foot arts and health occupations building.
"I love this building. It's really modern," said Daniel Carlin, a music major sampling the acoustics of the band room by playing some improvisational jazz on the piano.
The room’s arched wooden baffles and corrugated curtains with an industrial chic look are typical of the architecture throughout the $46.5 million building, in which form and function work in tandem.
Light and airy, grand and sweeping, the building has views of Dyes Inlet, the Olympics and the Warren Avenue Bridge.
Construction began in late 2015 on College Instruction Center, which is the largest project to date in the state’s community and technical college system. A grand opening was scheduled for fall 2017, but contractors needed more time to install the high-tech audio-visual equipment for the new 276-seat William D. Harvey Theatre. Other systems throughout the building were intertwined with the theater’s, leading to the delayed opening, OC spokesman Shawn Devine said.
The theater is named after the late Bill Harvey, who ignited a vibrant drama program at the college during his 36-year career. The theater, with movable walls, is a flexible space that can be used as a performance space, lecture hall or mid-sized event center.
The main lobby of the College Instruction Center on Olympic College's Bremerton campus. (Photo: Larry Steagall / Kitsap Sun)
Thanks to a new four-year digital film-making program, and upgraded production and film-editing equipment in the College Instruction Center, OC’s performing arts program is poised to move in a new direction. Film industry shifts — including more affordable equipment and new distribution platforms like Netflix, Hulu and Amazon — have opened the door to potential career paths for producers, directors, screenwriters and actors trained in digital film-making, said program director Timothy Hagan. Students in the program will continue to use the college media studio, but the new equipment opens the door wider.
“If we can teach our students industry standards, we can get our students industry jobs,” said Amy Hesketh, who teaches film production and post-production.
The next step: virtual reality. “We’re on track to do that,” Hagan said. “We are using only the contemporary, cutting-edge technology.”
Students of the visual arts are also looking at the chance to do bigger and better things, with a department spread on two floors. The new ceramics studio, flooded with daylight, has been nicknamed “the football field” for its generous expanse.
Olympic College instructor Evin Lambert, right, works with the choir in the theater of the new College Instruction Center. (Photo: Larry Steagall / Kitsap Sun)
“It’s a sexy space,” said art professor Marie Weichman.
To fully appreciate the change, one would have to say one last farewell to the cramped warren of classrooms that has housed the visual arts.
“Now we can have more students making bigger work, no limits,” Weichman said.
The old art, music and theater buildings will be demolished to make way for parking to compensate for that lost to the new building’s footprint. Parking lots will be complete by June. The roughly 250 spaces lost will be restored, and there will be a net gain of spaces, Devine said.
A trial run of the sun curtains on the studio’s floor-to-ceiling windows produced a shrill squeal. Something else for the punch list, but it didn’t dampen Weichman’s enthusiasm. “Growing pains are much better than dying death throes. The old building was dying,” she said.
The new building has a secured art gallery, unlike the old art center where artwork was displayed where space was available. Now the college can draw professional art exhibits. OC has partnered with the Bainbridge Island Museum of Art and the Bainbridge Artisan Resource Network for an upcoming invitational show at the gallery Jan. 26.
Weichman said having the College Instructional Center means her program can expand and coordinate with other disciplines like welding and composite engineering.
Upstairs in the new drawing studio, student Gretchen Lund was using a digital easel, a technology that will likely become standard, although it’s not widely available at the college yet. Lund, who graduates this spring and plans a career in graphic design, said the new building is definitely a step up.
“Since we’ve moved in here, you can tell just by looking around the technology is a lot more advanced,” she said. “It’s more of a professional environment, I’d say, for students to work in.”
Health occupations programs have gained space and improved patient care simulation labs in the College Instruction Center. The old health occupations building will remain in use, but the new labs for nursing assistants, nursing students and physical therapy assistant students are an improvement on a number of levels.
“First of all, it’s about four times the space of our lab space in the other building,” said Beth Gill, nursing assistant program director. “It’s so much more state of the art.”
Students in the nursing program will have access to high-tech mannequins. One even simulates a woman ready to give birth.
With the new building open, the physical therapy assistant program moves to Bremerton from its home in Poulsbo, where the two-year program brought on its first students in 2007. Students who graduate from the program are almost guaranteed placement in a high demand field with competitive salaries. Program director Lynn Bartlett expects the more central location will bring welcome exposure to the program.
Show ThumbnailsShow CaptionsLast SlideNext SlideRead or Share this story: http://www.kitsapsun.com/story/news/local/2018/01/02/olympic-college-opens-new-arts-and-health-sciences-building/997874001/
Let's Post Your Story on Open Magazine! https://news.artmotion.com/packs/