The first decade of the new millennium will be remembered, sadly, for the events of Sept. 11, 2001 in New York City, Washington, D.C. and Pennsylvania, and the resulting War on Terror. George H.W. Bush was president as U.S. forces invaded Iraq, leading to the end of Saddam Hussein’s rule as Iraqi president. Harvard student Mark Zuckerberg founded social networking service Facebook in 2004. At home, the popularity of the Internet, mobile phone and text messaging surged. At the movie theater, computer-generated films such as “Avatar” became widespread.
The new millennium saw Jackson Community College continuing its longtime commitment to providing quality higher education continue, while people, programs and facilities continued to change and grow. Rapid growth in the use of the Internet opens a new area of distance learning opportunities via the World Wide Web. As more and more working adults found the need to return to college to further their education, course delivery methods were altered to meet busy scheduled, with mini-semester and compressed courses offering the same material in a shortened time frame, allowing students to get the credits they need faster.
In 2001, President Daniel J. Phelan took the helm of the College following the retirement of Lee Howser. Later that year, Jackson and the nation was rocked by the events of Sept. 11. In response to those events, and with the efforts of some retired faculty, Phelan formed a committee to establish a flag display on campus, with the Spirit of America Flag Tribute dedicated in 2002.
To help meet increasing demand for college classes in Lenawee County, Jackson Community College worked with the Lenawee Intermediate School District on a land acquisition to build a new campus. JCC @ LISD TECH was built next door to what was the Lenawee Vo-Tech Center, today LISD TECH, with completion in 2003.
Renovations to the nearly 40-year-old Central Campus began in 2005 with James McDivitt Hall. The building houses many of the physical and social sciences, mathematics, criminal justice and engineering classes. Renovations were made to classrooms, laboratories and lecture halls, including additional prep spaces, improved computer commons on the first floor and bistro area.
In the early part of the decade, College officials initiated efforts to boost student life activities on campus. Marketing surveys had indicated that students wanted a fuller college experience beyond going to classes. Student life was identified as part of the College’s strategic plan in 2003, and opportunities grew for students to connect and get involved. One part of that came in 2006 when the College welcomed back an intercollegiate sports program after a 25-year hiatus, with the team name the Jets. Men’s baseball and women’s and men’s cross country were first to begin, followed by volleyball and men’s and women’s basketball. Men’s and women’s soccer and golf teams came later.
The community college’s facilities continued to change. Bringing library and information technology facilities together into one building, William Atkinson Hall was built and dedicated in 2007. A large, open computer area is joined by breakout rooms, along with the traditional library stacks. The building houses classrooms, information technology campus offices, and a café.
Taking an innovative step for a community college, Jackson built student housing on campus. This again allowed those students ready to live on their own and have a residential campus experience that opportunity. Campus View 1 was constructed in 2007, and a second, Campus View 2, was built in 2009.
With the return of sports, Victor Cuiss Fieldhouse was renovated in 2007, updating facilities and installing a beautiful parquet floor. Hillsdale LeTarte Center was also renovated in 2007, upgrading facilities and adding laboratory and office space for that location.
In 2008, the center core of Justin Whiting Hall was renovated to create the Rawal Center for Health Professions, thanks to the generosity of local neurosurgeon and family, Dr. Harish and Sudha Rawal. The center contains prototype student laboratories for nursing and allied health fields, including simulation mannequins to enhance student learning.