ANDOVER — Transferring Butler Community College’s operations from Andover High School to the college’s property on 13th Street in Andover has been a major undertaking, and the fruits of those efforts are now being realized for students, faculty, staff and the community.
The remodel project cost the college more than $13 million and had been foreseen for several years as Andover Unified School District 385 prepared for its own building project.
Andover Mayor Ronnie Price spoke at a ribbon-cutting ceremony held in November about the project that should bring a positive economic impact to the area.
"I just want to thank Butler Community College for investing in our community," Price said. "And more importantly, for investing in our children to give them a head start. Before they get out of high school, they can have their wings spread to go on to other ventures and other colleges, but you (Butler) are the first step to them being productive young adults. I cannot tell you much I appreciate it."
Price spoke of the partnership between the city and the college as a strong one.
"We hope, too, that this is a starting point for many great things to come and I just want to thank you all very much," he said.
Vince Haines, of architecture firm Gravity :: Works, said the project started with a master plan and a vision from the college at that time.
He noted the first project started in the winter of 2003 on the north end. Work then began to move south over the summers of 2005, 2006, 2008 and 2010, which at that time completed the central Student Union portion of the building. Work then moved further south over the summers of 2012 and 2015. Then, in the spring of 2018, the final phase began.
"And, here we are today of 2020 for a total of 165,000 sq. ft. of educational and support space," Haines said.
He said the work was carried on by multiple boards and two presidents.
"I think it’s a tribute to strategic planning and to sticking to a plan, and I think the college deserves a hand," he said.
The project remodeled 65,000 square feet of the 143,000-square-foot facility and now provides contemporary study spaces, new science and computer lab space as well as classrooms. To accommodate the addition of Butler’s services previously offered at Andover High School, the college’s Facilities Management department and the engineering program were removed from the building. They are now housed in the new Facilities Management, Engineering and Construction Technology Building, a more than 18,000-square-foot building that sits just south of the 5000 Building. Earlier this fall, Butler Trustees approved the new Construction Technology program to begin in August 2021.
New amenities for use by the community post-pandemic include the Kanza Conference Room, a 150-person space equipped with state-of-the-art audio/visual equipment, a holding kitchen and Wi-Fi. In addition, Great Western Dining, the college’s cafeteria service, has partnered with Starbucks to offer specialty drinks at the new Butler Bistro, and the library and bookstore can be accessed for various books and apparel.