Editorial: Decreasing access to campus makes studies difficult for students

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Grand Rapids Community College is a great place for aspiring artists to start their college education. It has an incredible art department and the price of tuition is considerably lower than most other college options.

In the past, GRCC’s Main Building has always been open on Saturdays. Art students have had the chance to come in every Saturday and work in open labs, sometimes for hours to put the finishing touches on drawings, paintings, digital photography, jewelry and pottery projects.

The Certified Nurse Aide (CNA) testing facilities have moved from the fourth floor of the Main Building to Cook Hall after the more than $40 Million renovation to that building. This has provided faculty and staff outside the nursing department with a major problem.

A few years ago, GRCC administrators enacted a policy that states, “If more than one group needs the building on a weekend, it will be open.”

Since CNA testing has moved a couple hundred feet down to Cook Hall, the administration has decided that the art department does not have enough students utilizing the weekend lab time to warrant the use of the building on Saturdays.

However, the students in the art program need that extra time to finish projects. The phrase “you can’t rush perfection” is true.

Art students use props set up in the middle of the room to create still life drawings and paintings and often need more than the hour and a half of class time to finish their work. They need the open lab time so they don’t have to paint from memory and forget the minute details in the display.

Pottery students need access to potter’s wheels, kilns and worktables located in the basement of the Main Building.

Jewelry students need access to torches and chemicals that aren’t found in the average college student’s house.

And it would be asking quite a lot of photography students if they were required to buy the top of the line computers, with beautiful displays and expensive editing programs, provided by the photography department.

This would not be as big of an issue if the communication had been relayed, at the beginning of the semester or, at the very least, more clearly. Student employees were hired and scheduled, and faculty and staff had requested building access before administrators announced that it was going to close on weekends after ArtPrize with no back-up plan in place.

There must be a way to sort this problem out and the administration has stated that they are working to centralize weekend activity on GRCC’s campus.

With enrollment down more than expected cuts have made been across the board and administrators say closing the Main Building would save a significant amount of money, but at what cost to the students?

For a school that claims to be very student centered, GRCC seems to be teetering on the verge of making it very difficult for art students to be able to accomplish what they came here to do.

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