Clarke: ‘Classroom space is at capacity’

Last updated: January 11. 2014 8:13PM - 1156 Views

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Special to The Daily Journal

At its regular monthly meeting on Tuesday, the Richmond Community College (RCC) Board of Trustees took official steps toward a campus expansion project to meet the needs of a growing student body at the College.

The board approved two motions to move forward with phase I of the College’s facilities master plan. The first was a request to the Richmond County Board of Commissioners to place a $15 million bond referendum on the November 2014 ballot. The second was the authorization for RCC’s administration to advertise for an architect for the advanced planning and modeling of phase I.

Phase I consists of a new building to house the College’s student services functions and additional classroom space, expanded parking, and related renovations. Since 2007, RCC’s credit-earning student body has grown 45 percent, making it the fastest growing community college in North Carolina. During that time, no additional classroom space has been added to the main campus. While the College has been able to accommodate this growth, campus facilities are at capacity, essentially stalling any plans for program expansion or the addition of new programs and jeopardizing the college’s ability to effectively provide critical services such as counseling and tutoring, according to RCC President Dr. Dale McInnis.

“Classroom space is at capacity and most faculty offices house two or three faculty members,” said Dr. Tony Clarke, RCC’s vice president of instruction and chief academic officer. “Our space constraints will become tighter this fall when we add two new academic programs: mechatronics and dialysis technology.”

“This is something that we have been looking at for quite some time,” said Bert Unger, chair of the Board of Trustees’ building and grounds committee. “We have been growing and need more space if we are going to continue to grow.”

RCC has received twin grants that will cover two-thirds of the cost of the advanced planning and modeling. Both the Community Foundation and the Cole Foundation have pledged $25,000 toward the project.

“We are very appreciative of the support of the Cole and Community foundations,” said McInnis. “I look forward to having the drawings and models so that we can share our vision for the campus with the people of Richmond County.”

Fall nursing assistants

In other business, the board heard a report on the fall nursing assistant cohort. RCC’s 38 nursing assistant students had a 100 percent passage rate on the North Carolina State Examination that consists of written and skills components.

According to Sheila Adams, lead instructor for the nursing assistant program, the statewide passage rate for the skills exam was only 60 percent, while the written exam rate was 92 percent.

Two-year calendar

The board approved a two-year calendar for the College. The calendar runs from summer 2014 to spring 2016.

“There are a few changes to the calendar as we move into the 2014-15 and 2015-16 academic years,” said McInnis. “The biggest change is moving graduation back a week beginning in 2015. After talking with students, the committee that creates our calendar felt that it gave us more flexibility and fewer conflicts with some of the university graduations across the state.”

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