More fully connected

Butte College boasts additional learning space and a greater chunk of cyberspace

Butte College construction includes a 30,000-square-foot research center.

Butte College construction includes a 30,000-square-foot research center.

Photo By Chelsey Shoop

Even if you’ve seen Butte College recently, there’s a good chance you’ve missed something new.

No wonder—Butte, the largest community college in California in terms of physical size, has a 928-acre main campus on a wildlife refuge. That’s a lot of ground to cover, and thanks to bond-funded construction, the landscape has been changing.

The latest addition is a 30,000-square-foot research center, an expansion of the library. With “smart classrooms” and digital learning aids, it will allow the “library to be a library again,” said Facilities Director Les Jauron.

Other changes are less visible—unless you have a computer.

Butte has joined the Apple computer company’s “iTunes U” program. The union, facilitated by philosophy instructor Dan Barnett, provides students and instructors with free podcasts, available for downloading and uploading 24/7. Also available on iTunes is “Butte College Chronicles,” a weekly podcast.

Online classes are nothing new at Butte, and this year the number has increased by 13 percent.

Not all 15,000 students have computers, though. The Extended Opportunity Program has introduced the Refurbished Computer Program for this fall—supplying low-income students with computers for $90.

“Students just have to come in and see if they qualify. We have lots of great programs,” EOPS clerk Jamie Peters said.

EOPS also offers direct tutorials for math courses; the tutor meets with the student after class, and the book is supplied free.

Vocational training is a significant aspect at Butte. Among the developments in that regard is the recreation of a hospital room in the Allied Health/Public Service center—complete with baby blue sheets, IV stands and mannequins in beds.

Said Lisa DeLaby, Butte’s public relations director: “The college wants to make the learning experience as close to reality as possible to make the graduates marketable to work.”