Panola College

Written by Jessica Williams Pace.

Improvements and Renovations

Panola College students are now enjoying the facilities in the Charles C. Matthews Foundation Student Center after the soft opening on Monday, September 21. The new facility is the second largest building on campus at approximately 54,000 square feet and two stories tall. It combines several offices and areas that were previously scattered across campus. Students have only a short walk from their campus apartments past the recently erected Frances B. Ross Millennium Clock Tower to the front entrance of the Student Center. The Panola College Store immediately greets students entering the building boasting the latest collegiate fashions, boutique apparel, supplies, and textbooks. When asked what area was a student favorite, one student responded, “The bookstore! I like going in there and browsing. It looks amazing, and they have a good selection of clothing.”

Past the Panola College Store on the left is a large reception area for the fitness center where students and community members may check-in to use the yoga room, the weight and cardio room or the fitness center gym. The fitness center gym will also double as a practice gym for Panola College athletes. Past the fitness center, the coaches and assistant coaches’ offices are directly across from the team locker rooms. The teams are excited about their new locker rooms, which boast wooden lockers, logoed leather sofas and chairs, and individual showers. Athletes also have an athletic training room with an open floor plan that allows for exercise rehabilitation to prevent major injuries and manage any type of injury from minor sprains and strains to post-surgical physical therapy to return athletes to play. The training room also has stainless steel whirlpools and offers athletes access to electrical stim and ultrasound, both modalities used to help the body heal more quickly from overuse to prevent surgery-requiring injuries.

Beyond the fitness center reception area of the Charles C. Matthews Foundation Student Center, students have an area where they can relax between classes. Students enjoy a lounging area equipped with sofas, chairs and a large 60” television. “My favorite part about the new Student Center is how big and open it feels,” stated one student. There is also an area set up with a pool table and, the longtime favorite of many past and current Panola College students, a ping pong table. Students will also find located beside the recreation area the residence life coordinator’s office and a conference room available for use by student or community groups.

The dining hall is also located on the main floor and offers several different options sure to satisfy any craving. Priced at only $6.77 for all-you-can-eat, students and community members will not leave hungry. Breakfast consists of a main entree, fruit and yogurt bar, cereal options, and a pancake maker. For lunch and dinner the dining hall offers a main entrée, a fully loaded salad bar, a pizza station, a grill station, a sandwich bar, and a dessert bar. There is also an exhibition cooking station, which features items like stir fry and omelets, and will operate four days a week at lunch. On days when the weather is nice, patrons of the dining hall will also have the option of dining on the large covered patio equipped with fans behind the dining hall.

The first floor also features the Frances B. Ross Ballroom. The ballroom can be divided into two separate rooms or can seat a total of 300 people. The room features state-of-the-art technology for the presenters and speakers. There is also a wall of windows on the west side of the ballroom that will offer guest one of the best views on campus overlooking the 30 feet tall Frances B. Ross Millennium Clock Tower. The clock tower, which is sure to become a campus landmark, was made by Verdin and has sound system that can play over 400 melodies and chimes.  

Charlie’s Bistro is located directly beside the recently renovated Arthur Johnson Gymnasium and will feature Seattle’s Best Coffee, part of Starbucks Coffee Company. Seattle’s Best Coffee will include Frappuccinos, mochas, cappuccinos, lattes, espressos and other cafe quality drinks. Charlie’s will also serve fresh salads, Panini sandwiches, burgers, chicken quesadillas, and grilled chicken salad.

On the second floor of the Student Center students will be able to register for classes in the admissions and registration offices. The office of the Vice President of Student Affairs, the student activities coordinator, and student advisors are also located on the second floor, along with veteran affairs, disability services and testing services. The central location of these services will be a great convenience for Panola College students.

Health and Natural Sciences Building

The Health and Natural Sciences Building offers approximately 64,000 square feet of valuable resources to Panola College. The building includes spaces for multiple health science departments including Occupational Therapy Assistant (OTA), Associate Degree Nursing (ADN), Vocational Nursing (LVN), and Emergency Medical Technician (EMT), Medical Assistant, Medical Lab, and Health Information Technology. “It's a great building, and I like how it was designed to fit in with the other buildings on campus,” quoted one Panola College student. Another student simply says, “The new building looks beautiful!”

There are several simulation labs located within the building. One simulation lab includes an ambulance that is equipped with cameras and microphones. This allows students to view their reaction to a situation or another student’s training as it occurs. One student commented, “My favorite part about the new Health and Natural Sciences Building is the simulation lab. I feel like I will have a better learning experience with all the new technology that is put into it.”

On the second floor there are four hospital room simulation labs with two way mirrors located on one wall. The two way mirrors offer students and instructors a chance to view what is happening inside the room and allow them the opportunity to instruct other students without disrupting the student being observed. The hospital rooms are also equipped with state-of-the-art mannequins that can be programmed to give birth, have a heart attack, or any numerous other medical situations. Students will be able to make mistakes they would be unable to make in a real life setting and have the opportunity to learn from and avoid the mistake in the future.

Located directly in the center of the Health and Natural Sciences Building is the bamboo lined Frances B. Ross tiered lecture hall. Offering cutting-edge technology for presentations and lectures, it will be used for multiple courses and other events. Beyond the lecture hall students will find eight science labs for biology, anatomy and physiology, and chemistry. The building also contains computer labs, research rooms, study rooms, and several instructor offices. Students also have access to a conference room, reception area, vending machines, and restrooms on both floors.

“We are pleased with what has been accomplished during Phase I of the 2013 Bond Program and proud that it is coming to a close.  We appreciate the citizens of Panola County for providing the college with such fine facilities to educate and support our students,” said Dr. Greg Powell, President of Panola College.