ACC Highland Mall campus hosts grand opening

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Longtime Austinites have known Highland Mall as a place to shop, but over the past few years as stores moved out, Austin Community College has moved in. Wednesday morning, officials are hosting a grand opening of their new campus, which is located inside what used to be the JCPenney.

One of the featured pieces of this campus is the computer lab known as the ACCelerator with 604 computer stations. The room is the length of an entire football field. It’s a place students can come to not only do any type of work needed, but also they can take a special math class that allows them to go at their own pace. Teachers are on hand that monitor the students activity.  For example, if a student has been on a single problem for a while, that teacher can come over to the student to try and help them.

It’s an effort to take away the embarrassment or feeling that you have to keep up with the other students in the class who might be able to retain the information easier. The goal: keeping students from falling behind.

“Right now it’s the developmental math, it’s all of the math the students need before they get to college level,” said Dorado Kinney, Dean of Student Services, Highland Campus. “Previously we had a three semester sequence that the students had to complete before they were college level, now they can get those three semesters in one semester if they take the accelerated course.”

The 200,000 square foot campus has 3800 students registered for this semester. Each classroom is equipped with the latest technology. But one of the primary goals was to make it a comfortable space where students come to not only take classes but also sit and lounge.

“We know that students who stay on campus are likely to use the resources that we have, the tutoring, the library, the computer ACCelerator,” said Kinney. “Students who stay on campus are going to be more successful because they use the resources,”

The ACC Highland Campus grand opening takes place from 10 to 11:30a.m. Wednesday. The campus is located just off Airport Boulevard.

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