NCC hoping for $5M boost
Record enrollment accelerates need for South Side facility

August 26, 2005 | By Nick Falsone

Northampton Community College is expected to shatter its old record for student enrollment when the fall semester starts Monday, college officials said.

As of Thursday, about 8,500 students had enrolled for credit classes at the college, 8.6 percent more than at the start of last fall’s semester.

Faculty and staff learned of the numbers during a morning meeting that included a state of the college address from NCC President Arthur Scott. The meeting also included a speech by William Strauss, an author who’s contributed to several books on what makes today’s generation of students.

Scott’s address reflected on last year’s accomplishments and focused on what direction the college is moving this year. He talked about better access and expansion, particularly the continued development of the South Side Bethlehem campus and the building of larger facilities in Monroe County.

“Our two greatest financial challenges continue to be the South Side and our facility in Monroe,” Scott said, adding he remains hopeful the state will come through with $5 million for the South Side campus’s development. “Without the $5 million, our work will slow and opportunities for the students and the community will be limited.”

NCC in March closed a $2 million deal to buy a former Bethlehem Steel Corp. building on East Third Street. The building served as the site of the Da Vinci Discovery Center of Science and Technology.

Renovations are expected to cost $10 million. The state has earmarked $5 million for the work, but the money has yet to materialize.

As for the Monroe County campus, Scott said larger facilities are necessary because of significant population growth in the county.

“By 2015, the county’s high school graduating class will be 80 percent as large as Northampton County’s, compared to 65 percent today,” he said.

College officials attributed much of this fall’s student enrollment growth to growth in Monroe County. Of the students enrolled this fall, 25 percent are from Monroe County.

Scott said the faculty and staff should embrace the enrollment increases.

“Successful institutions support a culture that welcomes and understands the complexities of change and where there is a high level of institutional trust,” he said.

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