June 4, 2023

Southside’s Best Kept Secrets

When ascending to the top of the Southside Campus which floor are you going to choose?

Cooking, woodworking and reading to children are all wonderful possibilities that leave imprints on lives.

A hotel room originally designed for the Sands Casino
A hotel room originally designed for the Sands Casino

The Southside campus in Bethlehem has numerous rooms and programs that many people are unfamiliar with.

Thousands of people enter the Southside doors every day and don’t realize the pure art and community based atmosphere that they are entering.

Going behind the scenes into Southside, we have an inside look about the so called “secrets of Southside.”

Starting on the 6th floor we have a standard hotel room, which is based off the original idea for the rooms at the Sands Casino. With a door on the outside that doesn’t match the rest of the building, people have to take a second look. Inside is everything you could imagine a five star hotel room to look like. With the luxurious bed to the glowing counter tops and the miraculous bathroom, it makes people want to stay at the Sands.

The room was installed before the Sands Casino was even finished. They used it as a selling point for their marketing department. Companies would tour the room when deciding if they wanted to hold corporate meetings at the Sands when they opened.

Due to the downfall in the economy the Sands had to change the format of their hotel rooms, so unfortunately the room is not adequate for the hotel today.

Now the room is just a point of interest to people. NCC can say that we have a random 5 star hotel room in our Southside campus.

Descending to the 5th floor you can find the Southside’s demo cooking classroom. With the room holding up to 40 people, it presents all sorts of cooking demos. You can learn how to make homemade meatballs & pasta, a Medieval Feast, nutrition classes and wine and scotch tastings.

The room is also friendly to people that have a special disability, including diabetes. It displays ways for people to eat correctly while living with diabetes.

The classes displayed in this room are all noncredit. With this past semester featuring 30 classes, the program is growing each and every semester.

Director of the Southside Campus, Paul Pierpoint, says “People come to this classroom to just learn fun stuff.”

A powerful mural, painted by middle school students, lines the hallways
A powerful mural, painted by middle school students, lines the hallways

Down to the 4th floor you will discover a mesmerizing mural painted by a group of middle school students.

During the summer of 2007 two artists from the Banana Factory had been given a youth grant. Since the Southside campus was entering completion, they decided to draw a mural that captivated the important aspects of Southside Bethlehem. The artists then mentored middle school students through the process of painting the mural.

As people walk past the mural every day, they don’t realize the importance of what it stands for. Displayed throughout the mural are the importance of literacy, community and diversity. The ability to read empowers people of all ages. Literacy is also the gateway to education.

Also on the 4th floor is the Cops ‘n’ Kids’ reading room. This room is designed to help improve literacy through teaching children at a young age that reading can be fun and adventurous.

Upon entering the room, the children are faced with an abundance of books. Every genre, color and size of a book a child could ever imagine is simply waiting for them in this room. Each time a kid comes to the Cops ‘n’ Kids room, they are allowed to take five books home that they can keep forever.

The idea for the room was pushed by Bev Bradley, a Southside native. Paul Pierpoints says “Bev’s energy is totally contagious.” Growing up in Southside, Bev knew what the community was missing.

On Wednesday’s and Saturday’s the reading room is open for anyone. The program is rewarding for both the children and the volunteers. NCC, Lehigh University, and Moravian College students have volunteered their time to read to the children.

Moving onto the 3rd floor, we arrive at the Fab Lab which in turn is the Southside’s very own woodshop.

The Fab Lab offers a wide range of classes, varying from guitar making/repair to eukalalie’s. The program is planning on offering violin making in the coming years.

3D printers help bring ideas to reality
3D printers help bring ideas to reality

The shop also has a 3D printer that is able to produce action figures, staplers, mini wrenches and any other object. At the moment they only have a 3D printer; one day hopefully they will have more of a plastics lab.

The classes offered in the Fab Lab are all noncredit; however, they are in the process of adding a woodworking class to the fine arts degree. This idea came about due to the fact that other community colleges in the area have the same type of course required.

As we make our final stop in the basement, we are faced with the Northeast Forensics Training Center. This center is used for special seminars for police officers from all over the east coast.

There are plenty of different specialized rooms throughout the basement used to study many different forensic techniques. There’s the blood splatter room, finger printing, photograph crime scenes, digital evidence and medical legal death investigating.

Police officers can receive a special certificate for any of the different seminars offered. There is also a fake apartment set up with certain crime scenes in place; this is to challenge law enforcement officers to find all the evidence for the crime scenes.

The rooms and programs offered from the Northeast Forensics Training Center are not required for a criminal justice degree but they are highly recommended to get some hands on experience in a crime scene atmosphere.

Just attending main campus is fun but when exploring onto the Southside campus you might find yourself engrossed in the different opportunities it holds.

Going out of your comfort zone and exploring the Southside campus will open your eyes to the community and family like atmosphere that it offers.

The Southside Campus offers fun classes and programs for anyone that is just willing to learn and participate.

Attend one of the cooking demo classes, make a guitar, walk past the hotel room, take your kids to the Cops ‘n’ kids’ reading room, sign up for a blood splatter class or just gaze into the Southside’s mural and contemplate the thought of what the future lies in front of you.

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