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Feb 16, 2017

Growing, Popular Media Arts Program at Luna Community College to See Facility Expansion

A Luna Community College, course study in media arts and technology can today mean many things, and that, says Kenneth Bachicha, is its primary strength.

Photo Courtesy Luna Community College Students C.O. & M.O.

“Students who take classes here in this field can end up following the field technician track, or they can become professional photographers, or even graphic designers,” says Bachicha, who is a professor in the media and technology department of LCC in Las Vegas, New Mexico.

“They can learn all the tools they need to actually pursue their passion,” continues Bachicha, whose two-year students have gone on to pursue advanced degrees in the same field at four-year schools, or have landed jobs as photographers or doing media arts work in other states.

But because the field is technology-intensive, with classes in such subject areas as digital photography and filmmaking, and both on-set and on-location production techniques, LCC’s media art and film technology requires facility space.

It got much of that with the first phase construction of its $7.2 million media education center, a one-story 43,000 square-foot facility housing classrooms and production studio labs that was completed in the fall of 2011.

“The classroom construction part is all completed,” says Leroy “Huero” Sanchez, the president of the school, “now we finally have a chance to build on that.”

The reason that LCC’s media education center will see new work is simple: in November voters in New Mexico passed General Obligation Bond C, which will provide just over $142 million for higher education capital improvements and land acquisitions across the state.

For LCC, Bond C means $2 million for the phase two expansion of the school’s media education center.

Photo Courtesy Luna Community College Students C.O. & M.O.

“This gives us a chance for a modern auditorium with seating and a complete stage, along with space for setting up equipment,” says Bachicha.

The new auditorium, notes Sanchez, will also serve a purpose beyond LCC’s immediate needs: “It could easily be used for community events. We don’t have anything that big here in Las Vegas.”

Anita Roybal, program director for LCC’s media art and film technology program, agrees, noting: “The only other significant auditorium space here in Las Vegas is at Highlands University. They have a space there that seats around 500 people, which means you can’t have an event larger than that.”

LCC’s graduation ceremonies have often been held in a big white tent in front of the school’s General Studies Building. “Being able to hold those ceremonies in a nice auditorium space will really be great for the students,” adds Roybal.

With a current enrollment of around 1,500, LCC, located at 366 Luna Drive four miles northwest of downtown Las Vegas, is the only community college in northeastern New Mexico. “Our numbers were higher several years ago,” says Sanchez, “but the enrollment decreased when we began to move away a little bit from vocational education.”

“Now we are trying to rebuild that part,” he adds.

Photo Courtesy Luna Community College Students C.O. & M.O.

The school was established in 1970 under New Mexico’s Area Vocational School Act, which was designed to offer vocational education opportunities to regional residents.

To that end, LCC offers a variety of classes in accounting, automotive repair, computer science, culinary arts, and nursing, among many other fields.

Sanchez points out that LCC has done well in recent history with general obligation bond funding. Some $1.3 million was spent completing the school’s modern Building Trades Facility last year.

“We also had work done on our auto mechanics facility and are now doing a little bit of work on the welding shop,” says Sanchez.

Plans call for final third phase work on the media education center, which, says Bachicha, “will make the building even larger, add more classrooms as well as a green screen room, a few more offices, and a different state of the art equipment that is multimedia-based.”

Funding for the third phase work most likely will come from a future general obligation bond.

 

By Garry Boulard

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