ACC Plans to Remodel Annex


Image via Angela Merlano

Stephanie Fujii and Lisa Matye-Edwards explain the anticipated remodel to meeting participants. Taken November 1, 2022.

Angela Merlano, Co-editor-in-chief

On Nov. 1, 2022, Arapahoe Community College (ACC) held an informational seminar to inform students and ask for input on the Littleton Campus’s Annex remodel.

Vice President of Students Affairs Lisa Matye-Edwards, Provost Cheryl Calhoun, and President Stephanie Fujii described the process of the annex remodel, and ultimately, the removal of ACC’s gym.

ACC community members came for the meeting online and in-person, including teachers such as Joan Anderssen and Scott Guenthner. Despite efforts from the staff to buffer with as much information as possible, participants still pursued with questions.

Matye-Edwards, Vice President of Student Affairs, began the meeting by describing the reasons why a remodel was adamant and a decision rather than a choice. The matter of the annex remodel has been discussed since 2016. “The main part of what the renovation is based on: safety, and accommodations,” Matye-Edwards stated.

She later summarized how the outdated model lacked accommodations such as elevators or ramps, which goes against the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) code. This was a reason for remodeling, but aligned with the Fitness Center remodel as well.

The staff all denied that the Fitness Center was going to be completely removed. There will be “tighter machine space” according to Fujii, but the equipment will not be completely revoked. Police force trainees and EMS trainees need the space for conditioning.

The students who attended repeated the question of the gym’s removal. The staff confirmed the “dodgeball gym” will be removed to accommodate a full training system for the nursing and EMS program at ACC. Some rooms in the immediate area will also be nixed, forcing classes and certain clubs to relocate.

The implemented system includes virtual reality equipment, “full sound and visual” according to Matye-Edwards. It can emulate busy intersection crashes, hospital bays, and more. The remodel includes the building of an accessible overpass above the training area for classmate spectators, and a two-story townhouse to simulate tricky rescues in small stairways.

As Vice President Cheryl Calhoun says, “it’s been a challenging puzzle to work through.” She sympathized with the frustration of students and further explained why there wasn’t room for community input.

“We’re trying to minimize displacement,” Calhoun stated. “It’s tricky – we have limited amount of time to do this, some of the funding expires on us. In 2024, if we don’t get it done by then, we give the money back.”

Matye-Edwards described an “open space in the fitness center” that will minimize excessive displacement and confusion for extracurriculars like the dance club or Patty Adams’ Silver Sneakers.

A student-made petition on protests these changes went live two weeks ago. There are demands on transparency and accountability on the staff’s side.

The petition description states, “The gym is the last space ACC students have to relieve stress, promote a healthy lifestyle, and foster a sense of community.”

The Pinnacle reached out to those running the petition over Instagram for comment on their perspective, but did not receive a response.

When asked in-person about her response to the student petition poster which asked, “Where Does Our Tuition Go?” the Vice President of Student Affairs commented that it was “interesting.”

She explained that “student tuition does not pay for the gym” and it would be considered an “auxiliary fee.” She said staff clarified to the petition makers what the decision was based off of and that the claim of misused tuition was false.

Stephanie Fujii ended with her experience in ACC’s culture and the topic of community input. “We’re adapting and trying to do the best we can… hopefully we’ll work hard to do better.”

Visit ACC’s website for more information on the remodel.