Florestano renovations begin


Phillip Grimm

Shown, a contractor moves debris out of the Florestano building in early February.

Sam Gauntt, Managing Editor

Renovations of the fourth floor of the Florestano building on AACC’s Arnold campus began in early February and will continue through the end of the spring semester.

The revamp, slated to be finished by July, will add three new Hyflex classrooms that are equipped with cameras and microphones to allow students to attend class in-person or online, a computer lab, faculty collaboration space, the college’s IDEA Lab and new student media spaces for creating audio and video content.

Faculty will move into the fourth floor of the building, which closed in summer 2021, by September. 

“Right now we’re in the demolition phase, and … we are currently only renovating the fourth floor,” Emily Thompson, the project manager for facilities, planning, design and construction, said. “So construction is slated to be complete in July. And then I will furnish the building, with the rest of the summer, and then move everybody in September, hopefully.”

The first three floors of Florestano also will be renovated, with the process set to begin next year.

“So we are looking at starting design … in early 2024, and that usually takes about a year,” Thompson said. “And then construction would also take about a year. So we’re looking at mid-to-late 2026.”

All student services, including advising, the testing center, registration and financial aid, will move into the first, second and third floors of Florestano, Thompson said.

Thompson said once all services move into Florestano, the current Student Services building on the main campus could become a designated space for students and clubs, and the testing center could become more office space. 

Most services will be available at self-serve kiosks, but employees will still assist anyone who needs help. 

“I’m definitely in support of the student services [moving into] the Florestano location,” Thompson said. “I think the parking situation is better for guests. … I think as far as new students, getting in and out with an accessible building, you know, right off the parking lot, I think it’s a big improvement, or will be a big improvement. I know that the staff is really excited about what’s going on on the fourth floor. And hopefully this will help students.”

Some students said having the services in one place will be an improvement. 

“Having everything in one place will make it easier for people,” physician assistant student Makenzie Mays, who is taking one class at AACC, said. “I think it would be beneficial for everyone.”