Scottsdale Community College receives approval for ‘Cloud Song Center’

An artist’s rendering of Scottsdale Community College Business School west entrance. (submitted photo)

Scottsdale Community College will break ground on a new 33,000-square-foot building in April that will house its business school, an Indigenous Scholars Institute, a community center and facilities scheduling services.

The project, with a working title of the “Cloud Song Center,” will meet a longstanding commitment by the college to provide a cultural center for the Salt River Pima Maricopa Indian Community and give the college’s business program a new, expanded space to call home.

“We value deeply our tremendous partnerships with SRPMIC and the business community and look forward to bringing this project to fruition with their continued support and involvement,” said SCC President Jan Gehler, in a press release.

“This building will be a destination Native American cultural center, and will support high-quality teaching and learning for many generations of SCC students.”

The new building will include six classrooms for business students, an accounting and statistics learning center — the only such learning center in the district — eight faculty offices and other student support space, the release stated.

The business school entrance will face west while the Indigenous Scholars Institute entryway will face east looking out toward SRPMIC lands.

The ISI side of the building will include a large meeting room, private study rooms, and other shared spaces dedicated to teaching Native American culture, history and current events.

An outdoor gathering area with a performance circle patterned after other Native American designs such as those seen at the Heard Museum will provide an outdoor space for hosting events and activities.

Construction will start shortly after the college receives a construction permit from the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community.

On Feb. 28, the Maricopa County Community College District Governing Board unanimously approved awarding an $11.2 million contract to Okland Construction to build the center.

During the meeting, SRPMIC President Delbert Ray and Scottsdale Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Mark Hiegel both spoke in favor of the project.

“This multiplies our community’s goal of self sufficiency and provides the next generation a launching pad into the fast-paced world of technology and innovation,” said Mr. Ray.

Mr. Hiegel said the expanded business classrooms and student support offered by the business school will “help keep grads in Arizona and keep our members happy because they will have a future pool of employees.”

Most of the funding for Cloud Song comes from 2004 bond money earmarked for capital projects, with remaining costs covered by proceeds from the college’s sale of its McDowell property last year, the release stated.

Designed by the firm Architekton, the building design passed the SRPMIC Design Review process. The project was originally envisioned as three buildings but budget constraints required combining the concepts into one building.

Plans call for the building to be completed in 2018, said Colleen O’Neill, SCC’s vice president of administration, which oversees the planning and construction.

The building will be located on the southeast end of campus near Parking Lot G. With a new facility for receiving going up further east of Cloud Song Center, revised frontage road access will be part of the project.

Business is the school’s largest occupational program and most business students graduate with an Associate of Business and successfully transfer to universities to pursue bachelor’s degrees, the release stated.

“We’ve been working on this for several years, with the goal of growing our program and producing more business school graduates and transfer opportunities,” said Susan Peterson, interim Dean of Instruction and former chair of the Business and Computer Information Systems Division, in the release. “We’re very happy the college and the governing board see the value of an expanded business school.”

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