Austin Community College District (ACC) started opening portions of Highland Campus, Building 2000 in January 2021. The redevelopment was funded through the college’s 2014 general obligation bonds. 

Read below to see what faculty and students are saying about teaching and learning in the new facilities. Check back often for more feedback.

Architectural and Engineering CAD and Architecture

What faculty are saying

I feel that ACC’s leadership hit a homerun in having the foresight to purchase the Highland Mall site and repurpose and restore it as ACC’s flagship campus – and it was all done in a very sustainable and green manner. It would not surprise me if the Highland Campus is recognized as a model of how malls and other buildings that have reached the end of their original purpose can be repurposed to extend the life of the buildings in an economical and sustainable manner.

The A&E CAD program is adjacent to the Geographic Information System program’s labs and our space overlaps with ACC’s new Advanced Manufacturing program. We are already allowing students to incorporate courses from those programs into our program’s degree plans and vice versa to create multidisciplinary pathways. Our program also cross-lists one of our graphics classes, DFTG 1429, with a course from the Engineering program, ENGR 1304, at Highland Campus – this allows us to teach both courses at the same time, using the same faculty member and classroom. — Douglas Smith, A&E CAD and Architecture department chair/professor

What students are saying

Last week, an A&E CAD student who had previously only attended classes at our Northridge campus visited the Highland Campus for the first time. This student will graduate in December and already has a CAD job lined up. After touring our new space, he expressed regret that he won’t get to take classes in our fabulous new facility with its abundance of glass walls and natural light. — As told by Douglas Smith, A&E CAD and Architecture department chair/professor

Culinary Arts

What faculty are saying

Since the Culinary Department has made the big move from our former facility at Eastview Campus to now Highland Campus we are now able to expand into so many different avenues of cuisine that were before a bit limited. The Culinary Department now has five state-of-the-art kitchens with equipment that will prepare a student for all the various areas of the culinary & pastry industry as well as preparing the entrepreneur for starting their own business. The department also has the new addition of the school restaurant, Eatery 73, that will be student-run and open to the public for lunch and dinner. Patrons to the restaurant will be able to see our students in action in the kitchen as well as meet them as their servers in the dining room.  

Within the Highland Campus, there is also a Grab-N-Go space that will offer ACC students, faculty, and staff food options throughout the day coming from our various culinary and pastry classes. Our instructors base classes on giving as much one-on-one instruction for the foundations of cuisine, which also include safety and sanitation, cost controls, and industry management to help them have the necessary skills for the industry. Our focus is to create the best culinary school in Central Texas and for the state of Texas. — Chef Stephanie Herrington, Culinary and Pastry/Baking Arts department chair

Health Sciences Simulation Center

What faculty are saying

  • The PTA program had the pleasure of using the simulation lab this semester and students were begging for more classes in it—we had nothing but positive feedback from the students. The lab provided what we couldn’t in a classroom—a realistic depiction of what they might see in their clinical rotations which helped lessen their anxiety about upcoming inpatient rotations. From a faculty perspective, it was great to teach them hands-on experience while having to adapt to different lines/tubes/equipment and it was an invaluable 2 days we spent there. Communication from Audra and Mary was great beforehand, and they had everything set up as we requested. Overall, it helped our students be better prepared to treat patients in a safe and informed manner and has been a great addition to ACC. — Sydney Stan, Physical Therapist Assistant professor
  • The PTA program had a great experience using the simulation lab. Our students enjoyed the environment of an actual inpatient facility and were glad to experience the monitors, moving the beds, and working with simulated patients before they left for the first rotation. The staff did an excellent job of having everything ready for our lab; we got there and went straight to work. Can’t wait to do it again next year. — Jose Milan, Physical Therapist Assistant department chair

What students are saying

  • It was extremely interesting to act as a nurse even though I am level one. I felt more capable of discovering my strengths and weaknesses, with the room to make mistakes. This made me feel more open to asking questions and finding learning opportunities. — Fall 2021 student
  • The simulation center experience helped provide more confidence in dealing with an emergent situation. — Fall 2021 student
  • Sims was very helpful! I wish we could have more sim days since I’m a visual learner and sims have the best, most realistic setting for practice that I just cannot replicate at home. They are also fun with the instructor behind the glass speaking as the patient, and I enjoy working with my fellow students as a team. — Fall 2021 student
  • It’s great hands on without the pressure and a great way to get comfortable in our roles. — Fall 2021 student
  • It was thought-provoking, caused me to draw upon my critical thinking skills and apply what I have learned while focusing on patient needs. To ensure safe effective patient care, while working together as a team. Overall the experience has expanded my capacity for new learning, and growth. — Fall 2021 student
  • I feel I am more prepared as to what to expect for simulation and understand more of what to prioritize and how to organize. — Fall 2021 student
  • It was very eye-opening and made me more cognizant of how to treat my patients. And made me really think about how to provide the best care for my patient even though there might be some barriers (such as communication). — Fall 2021 student

Learn more at the Campus Conversation on ACC Facilities on December 10, 2021.