Community college hails addition to student center

Expansion unites services, accommodates growth at school, say officials

October 13, 2002|By Gabriel Baird | Gabriel Baird,SUN STAFF

In order to better serve its growing student population, Anne Arundel Community College has opened an addition to its Student Services Center that houses offices that had been spread throughout the campus.

Gov. Parris N. Glendening was among the more than 100 officials, students, faculty and staff at the formal opening Thursday of the 23,600-square- foot building, which is part of a $10.5 million project.

Glendening used the opportunity to respond to talk from both candidates in this year's gubernatorial race of targeting higher-education funding to help combat the state's $1.7 billion deficit.

"We should not balance the budget on the back of our higher education," he said. "I see this [building] as an investment in our students, our people, our community."

The center, which opened to students last month, brings admissions, financial aid, registration, records, advising and counseling offices into one building.

Betty Spengler, who attended the college off and on for 22 years before graduating last year, recalled having to walk across campus to meet all her student needs.

"No other changes over the years match up with this one," said Spengler, who works at the information desk in the new building.

The center of student life will become more comprehensive in the fall next year, when the second phase of the project is completed. The existing 46,600- square-foot center is being renovated to bring together the college store, a refurbished cafeteria and the student-life offices.

John Jennings, 19, a student from Annapolis, is looking forward to completion of this work. "I don't see why it's not all in one building already," he said.

He is one of more than 57,000 students who took at least one class at the college during the past academic year. The school has had record high enrollment for two consecutive years. Preliminary numbers for this fall indicate that nearly 9 percent more students have enrolled in courses for college credit compared with last year, said Fran Turcott, a college spokeswoman.

"We desperately needed this facility because of our tremendous growth," said college President Martha A. Smith.

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