Jefferson Community College officials and a room full of community members spent Thursday morning looking at the college's past and brainstorming what would need to be accomplished to shape a successful future.
Among the plans discussed at the college's annual breakfast was the $17.5 million dormitory project, for which the college provided architectural renderings as well as inklings of what to expect from the college's next strategic plan.
“When we kind of step back and look where we were a few years ago, we've come a long way,” said President Carole A. McCoy. “We're proud of that.”
In the past five years, the college established its higher education center, nine new programs and a weekend nursing program. Since 2008, enrollment has grown 26 percent.
The college hopes to attract even more students from Lewis, St. Lawrence and Oswego counties after the 290-unit residence building is constructed and furnished by fall 2014.
College officials are updating their project feasibility plan and have been surveying students throughout the week. By the end of the month, the funding prospectus will be sent “to the banking world,” according to Mrs. McCoy.
After Adirondack Community College secured funding for its dormitory project in March, Mrs. McCoy was certain JCC could receive enough money to fund the project.
“We learned a lot from their trials and tribulations,” she said.
Financing is expected to close in March and a groundbreaking ceremony will be held around April 1.
A double room will cost about $6,500 per academic year and a single will be about $7,400 per year. Money from room and board charges will be poured into security and maintenance. Mrs. McCoy said she hopes there will be enough students interested to warrant a waiting list.
“We believe half or so of the students in the residence are already living in the community somewhere,” she said.
She believes the dorms will add a nurturing and lively quality to the campus with more students attending athletic competitions and other events.
“Students who live in residence halls tend to do better academically,” she said. “It's going to create a vibrancy to this campus that we don't have. We shut down at nights and weekends.”
Daniel J. Dupee II, vice president for administration and finance, said the dormitory will keep the college competitive with other two-year schools.
JCC officials will begin working on the next strategic plan in January. The college will bounce its ideas off the community next fall and unveil its new plan at the year's end.
Joseph L. Rich, founder and former CEO of the Disabled Persons Action Organization, hoped to see increased emphasis on finding opportunities — scholarships and new programs — for single parents.
Assemblywoman Addie J. Russell, D-Theresa, said her student cabinet said more students would take JCC courses unavailable at their district if the college's schedule matched high schools' schedules.
JCC Trustee Doris H. McLallen said the college should attempt to enroll more international students and have opportunities for local students to study abroad.
Other items discussed were a new arena, which is undergoing a feasibility study, and a possible allied health center equipped with mannequins and state-of-the-art equipment.
A collaborative learning center, which is on the strategic plan but was not funded, will likely be moved to the new plan. The interactive center will be where the Melvil Dewey Library is located and let students meet with tutors and study groups.
“Our current strategic plan talks about a lot of those things,” Mrs. McCoy said after the meeting. “The distance learning. The internships. I think they're reaffirming the things we hear from students and the community.”