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Alabama A&M Partners with Apple’s Innovative Propel Center

Alabama A&M University is partnering with Propel Center, a new global campus headquartered in Atlanta that will support innovative learning and development for Historically Black Colleges and Universities nationwide.
Apple is working with Southern Company and the Ed Farm education non-profit to support the Propel Center. Apple’s $25 million contribution will enable the Propel Center to support HBCU students and faculty through a robust virtual platform, a physical campus in the historic Atlanta University Center, as well as on-campus activations at partner institutions.
Through the Propel Center, Alabama A&M students and faculty will have access to innovative curricula, technology support, career opportunities, and fellowship programs.
“As a Top 3 Minority STEM Producer among HBCUs nationally, Alabama A&M is excited to partner with the Propel Center to provide additional resources and grow the pipeline of students entering these disciplines,” said President Andrew Hugine, Jr.
The Propel Center will offer a wide range of educational tracks, including AI and machine learning, agricultural technologies, social justice, entertainment arts, app development, augmented reality, design and creative arts, career preparation, and entrepreneurship. Experts from Apple will help develop curricula and provide ongoing mentorship and learning support, along with offering internship opportunities.
Propel Center is part of Apple’s $100 million Racial Equity and Justice Initiative.
“We are all accountable to the urgent work of building a more just, more equitable world — and these new projects send a clear signal of Apple’s enduring commitment,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO. “We’re launching REJI’s latest initiatives with partners across a broad range of industries and backgrounds — from students to teachers, developers to entrepreneurs, and community organizers to justice advocates — working together to empower communities that have borne the brunt of racism and discrimination for far too long.
“We are honored to help bring this vision to bear, and to match our words and actions to the values of equity and inclusion we have always prized at Apple.”

Alabama A&M Partners with Apogee for Campus Wi-Fi Services

As it sprints toward its milestone 150th anniversary, Alabama A&M University is planning for the future with investment in cutting-edge Wi-Fi across its campus to facilitate student learning, research capabilities, collaboration, and security.

The university has named Apogee, the only managed-services provider focused solely on higher education, to provide wireless service for more than 6,900 students and faculty throughout every academic building and area, including the 972-acre Winifred Thomas Agricultural Research Station in Hazel Green.

Founded in 1875 by a former slave, Alabama A&M is a Historical Black College and University and a traditional 1890 land-grant institution. A dynamic and progressive institution committed to academic excellence, AAMU prepares students not only to excel in their careers, but also to succeed at life.

“One of our 2021 strategic goals was to drastically improve our Wi-Fi offering to meet the needs of the university in a world that is more connected than ever before,” said Alabama A&M President Dr. Andrew Hugine. “Our mobility dependence has increased exponentially over the past decade. With the average number of wireless devices jumping from 1.5 to five or more per user, keeping up with this demand in-house has become impractical given our staff and budgets.”

By partnering with Apogee for managed services, A&M will be able to improve connectivity, reliability, performance, IT service and support, and financial predictability, while freeing administrators from the hassles of equipment and network refreshes and giving them the gift of time and energy to focus on important strategic campus initiatives.

Students, faculty, and researchers will return to campus in Spring 2021 to a significantly improved digital experience with the new, state-of-the-art, high-speed, and reliable Wi-Fi network in all four colleges and at the research station.

AAMU’s new Wi-Fi network, which will connect seamlessly with the existing residential network, will provide blended learning opportunities for students to connect to live lectures remotely and view recorded lecture material online. It will foster increased collaboration between peers and teachers for better student outcomes and higher student satisfaction ratings.

And it will let AAMU students feel connected whether in a classroom, studying remotely or elsewhere on campus. They will also have instant access to Apogee’s 24/7/365 support via phone, chat, text, and email. In addition, it will provide real-time location analytics to understand facility utilization and ensure campus safety.

“In response to COVID-19 and growing parental concerns over school-related emergencies, we needed to have the system be able to accurately locate users and devices across the campus as part of our life safety planning and contact tracing strategies,” said Dr. Damian Clarke, Chief Information Officer.

The new managed campus network provides a predictable funding model, comprehensive support, SLA-driven performance metrics, and regular equipment refreshes and to ensure the network is always up-to-date and modernized.

AAMU’s search for a technology partner led them to choose Apogee because of the company’s experience and track record delivering high-speed, cutting edge Wi-Fi to so many universities across the nation.

“Apogee’s proposal met or exceeded AAMU’s expectations across technical requirements, service and response times, and fiscally,” said Clarke. “We look forward to a mutually-beneficial partnership.”

“One of the foundations of our business is helping colleges and universities harness technology to drive their strategic initiatives,” said Matt Loecke, executive vice president of Sales at Apogee. “We are honored to welcome this prestigious school amongst our established HBCU partnerships, and believe that like their peers, AAMU will come to rely on Apogee’s commitment to technological and operational excellence to lay the foundation for their students’ academic success and quality of life.”

Construction Begins on Alabama A&M Event Center and Arena

There’s some hoopla happening on The Hill!

After years of anticipation and planning, construction has begun on Alabama A&M’s 132,000-square-foot event center and arena, Turner Construction’s Huntsville office announced Thursday.

The new Alabama A&M University event center/arena will host sporting events, commencement exercises and other campus activities.

The new space will include an arena with a 6,000-person capacity, locker rooms, training rooms, an Alabama A&M athletic Hall of Fame, and a kitchen with the capability to provide meals for all events on campus.

The arena will host sporting events such as basketball and volleyball games, commencement exercises, and other university functions.

“The center will provide the university with a much-needed facility where we can host major functions, such as commencements, convocations, our annual scholarship gala, and athletic events,” said A&M President Andrew Hugine Jr. “It will be a state-of-the-art facility just off of North Memorial Parkway, and we are thrilled to be making this addition for our students and the community, which will transform the landscape of North Huntsville.”

The Alabama A&M University Athletics Hall of Fame will have a home in the new facility.

Turner is the construction management agent for the project. Under the CMa approach, the construction manager serves as an extension of the project owner’s staff and is responsible for construction management services, including advising, coordinating, and inspecting project design and construction, and competitively bidding the various construction components to trade contractors.

Turner will work with architecture firm Nola Van Peursem and engineering firms Moody Nolan (arena consultant); The EE Group (electrical engineer); Mims Engineering (mechanical/plumbing/fire protection); Johnson and Associates (civil engineer); LBYD (structural engineer); Camacho (food service); and Bostick Landscape Architects. The project is expected to be completed in the fall of 2022.

“We are excited to partner with Alabama A&M on our fourth project together,” said Tyce Hudson, project executive at Turner Construction Company in Huntsville. “We have experienced a lot of success together and there is no doubt that this is going to be the best project yet.

“It is going to be an excellent facility for Alabama A&M University and the community.”

Apartments.com: Huntsville Ranked No. 5 Among America’s Top Affordable College Towns

The Rocket City found itself near the top of another list and this one concerns the area’s future workforce.
According to Apartments.com, the nation’s most visited apartment site, Huntsville is ranked No. 5 among the nation’s top affordable college towns.
A city with no shortage of southern charm and intellectual values, Huntsville’s local schools are among the best in the state. Students interested in attending the historic Alabama A&M University, the University of Alabama in Huntsville or Oakwood University are able to choose from more than 2,000 apartments at an average unit price of $826.
Apartments.com is sharing the top budget-friendly college cities ranked by average rent per unit and the amount of affordable housing options available based on a recent analysis from Apartments.com and parent company, CoStar Group.
The top four towns are:

1. Wichita, Kan.
Topping the list is a thriving cultural and economic hub full of energy and excitement. Students thinking of attending the flagship institution of Kansas’ biggest city – Wichita State University – have more than 1,115 rental options near campus with most of the popular dining, entertainment, and nightlife hotspots just a few miles down the road. With the average rent per unit at just $671, residents won’t have to break the bank. Faculty and other community members supporting the university can expect to pay 16% of their income on rent.

2. Tulsa, Okla.
With eight four-year colleges within 40 miles of Tulsa and nearly 3,000 apartment rentals available, students have a variety of options for not only where to attend school but also where to live. Less than three miles from Downtown Tulsa, the University of Tulsa is surrounded by a wide range of apartments, condos, and houses available for rent. With the average unit price at $694, students are able to find the perfect home at an affordable price with money left over for tuition, textbooks, and more.

3. Oklahoma City
Oklahoma City, one of the least expensive metropolitan areas in the nation with residents spending just 18% of their income on rent, has been expanding in recent years. With the average rent per unit at just $756 and 1,533 rentals near Oklahoma State University, the neighborhoods that surround the campus are full of rental houses, apartments, and condos to fit any budget and within a short walk of the university.

4. Fargo, N.D.
The largest city in North Dakota ranks in the top four affordable college towns, with the average rent per unit averaging at $775 and residents spending 18% of income on rent. Students looking for somewhere unique and artistic with no shortage of things to do should consider North Dakota State University, Minnesota State University Moorhead, or Concordia College at Moorhead. With 1,720 rentals available near North Dakota State University, students looking to become part of the Thundering Herd will have plenty of options to find the perfect apartment.