COVID-19 has wreaked havoc on the country, upending lives, forcing business closures, eroding faith in institutions and more.

However, as Sun-Tzu wrote, “in the midst of chaos, there is also opportunity.”

Where we stand out is in how we pivot in hard times. And Allegany College of Maryland made the most it could have out of the turmoil, using the temporary break in the action to upgrade its technology center.

The small college began renovations on its tech center in 2017 and finished in April 2021.

In all, it was a $13,590,894 renovation funded in part by the state, county and school. Having emerged on the other side, the school is prepared to tackle the future head-on.

The college has massively expanded its biggest program — nursing — doubling the amount of students. Around 45% of the school’s students are pursuing degrees in nursing.

It added a high-tech nursing clinical simulation lab and a high-tech respiratory therapy clinical lab, which are plumb with mannequins that are a near facsimile of a person.

The P-TECH program, a partnership between ACM and the Allegany County Public School System, promises to be a boon for the region as the program is free and allows students to start taking classes as early as freshman year in high school, enabling them to graduate with a two-year associate degree in cyber security.

The school has rounded out the modes of learning, increasing opportunities to non-traditional students by increasing the ways in which classes can be taken to include in-person, hybrid, nights and online.

During a recent editorial board trip to the college to visit the renovated tech facility, David Jones, vice president of advancement and community relations and executive director of the ACM Foundation, put it best — the building that was built in the 1970s used to be a technology building with no technology in it, but now it’s a tech building chalked full of it.