Accelerator Building to house MCC North Express this fall


When Metropolitan Community College classes resume for the fall quarter, new buildings will be open to students as they further their education.
However, besides the three new buildings on the Fort Omaha Campus near 30th and Fort streets, one down 30th Street will also have offerings.
The new Highlander Accelerator building, located near 30th and Parker streets, will house a variety of services for MCC on its third floor. The building is part of the 75 North project in the Highlander Neighborhood of North Omaha. 
This new MCC location will be called MCC North Express and will resemble the MCC South Express location near 24th and Vinton streets. MCC North Express will have similar offerings to its south counterpart, said executive director of Continuing Education Gary Girard.
“North Express will extend some of the resources from South Express In terms of Adult Education, GED, ESL, the read/write program and the 180 Re-Entry program,” Girard said.  “South Express will still be the primary place, but we’ll offer some of those services at North Express.”
Students attending classes at the new Accelerator building will have access to individualized attention, career exploration, and work readiness training and skills. These services can help students make an easier transition to MCC if they desire.
Creighton University, who will have an off-shoot location in the first floor of the Accelerator building, will have a stackable classes program in conjunction with the classes offered at MCC North Express, Girard said.
MCC will also partner with Whispering Roots, a local garden, to offer aquaponics classes. Aquaponics is a gardening style where the waste from fish supplies nutrients to plants.
“There is a world-class aquaponics science center that’s connected to it,” Girard said. “That will allow us to offer and strengthen urban gardening, aquaponics science, water science, nutrition and healthy lifestyles.”
There will even be a test kitchen in the building, allowing students to take what they grow in the aquaponics garden and cook with it.
Girard said there will be more continuing education offerings at MCC North Express, such as College 4 Kids and College 4 Teens classes, and more that can be tailored to the neighborhood.
“We’ll facilitate some focus groups and we’ll work with the neighborhood to see what kind of programming the neighborhood would like to see,” he said. “We have some programming that we’re planning but beyond that scope, we’ll develop programs that are suited for and responsive to the community.”
Girard said MCC’s involvement in the Accelerator building is important because it is such a unique group of institutions coming together.
“This facility is planted right in the middle of a planned neighborhood with 25 acres of all kinds of different housing. There’s this whole neighborhood and right in the middle is this learning facility. This type of partnership is very unique to an institution for higher learning. The entire concept of putting an education facility in the middle of a neighborhood is very unique. There is nothing like it out there,” he said. “I think it could be replicated at a national level. It is very forward-thinking.”
Because of all the different offerings in the Accelerator building, Girard said there will be something there that anyone can enjoy.
“I think it’s collaboration at its finest. Creighton on the first level, we’re on the third level. The space will be really organized in a way that we offer programming ultimately age three all the way up to seniors. We will have a full continuum of community education,” Girard said.