published Sunday, August 10th, 2014

Northeast Alabama Community College opens new tech center

  • photo
    The new Math, Science and Engineering Technology Center at Northeast Alabama Community College opened in June with 46,000 square feet of classrooms and offices. Contributed photo courtesy of Northeast Alabama Community College


$10.5 million: Construction cost

8: Classrooms

8: Laboratories

2: Lecture halls with tiered seating

100: Computer terminals for students and faculty

Source: Northeast Alabama Community College

Students headed to class this month for fall semester at Northeast Alabama Community College in Rainsville will find a $10.5 million, 46,000-square foot facility aimed at technology waiting for them.

The Mathematics, Science and Engineering Technology Center, dubbed the MSET Center for short, houses classrooms, laboratories, lecture halls for students in anatomy, biology, mathematics, physics and engineering classes.

The new facility, positioned at the front of the campus property on Alabama Highway 35, opened in June.

"This is a very student-friendly building, one that we think will really enhance the teaching and learning process at Northeast," college President Dr. David Campbell said in a statement about the facility.

"The building is designed particularly for instruction in science and mathematics -- subjects that are a bedrock of our curriculum no matter what the student major -- so a very large number of our students will be taking classes in this building before they have completed their programs of study," Campbell said. "The engineering technology program housed in the building will expand what we do in that field, as well."

Besides classrooms, labs and lecture halls, the two-story building will contain three virtual desktop labs for math and science instruction, 14 faculty offices, a centralized faculty work room, student study and break areas and a storm shelter in the basement. And there's room for expansion in the 8,900-square-foot attic.

Campbell said faculty and staff took tours of the new science facility at Emory University in Atlanta to get equipment ideas.

Debra Barrentine, director of promotions and marketing for the school, said students attending classes over the summer already are ensconced in the new building's spacious lobby.

"It's actually a magnificent building," Barrentine said. "When you go into the lobby, the students are there using the study area. I see that lobby used even more than the others; almost equal to the student center seating area."

Summer students and faculty "have been very complimentary of it," she said. "Even former students have come to see it and how the campus has grown."

Classrooms and labs are equipped with interactive SMART boards, podium audio/visual controls, projectors and Internet presentation access. The entire building has Wi-Fi access for students with a fiber-optic uplink for rapid data transmission, according to school officials.

Contact staff writer Ben Benton at or or or 423-757-6569.

about Ben Benton...

Ben Benton is a news reporter at the Chattanooga Times Free Press. He covers Southeast Tennessee and previously covered North Georgia education. Ben has worked at the Times Free Press since November 2005, first covering Bledsoe and Sequatchie counties and later adding Marion, Grundy and other counties in the northern and western edges of the region to his coverage. He was born and raised in Cleveland, Tenn., a graduate of Bradley Central High School. Benton ...

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