Following the event, Newcomb told The Daily Tribune News about the college’s overall goals for the 2013-2014 school year, which include some moderate expansions at the North Metro campus in Acworth.
“All of the campuses are important because they contribute to community access [with] North Metro campus and the Marietta [Mountain View] campus especially because of the physical location of the colleges,” Newcomb said. “We continue to look at the array of programs at each of our campuses; we won’t be making any significant changes in the next year, but I would say at the North Metro campus we are looking more at some renovations.”
He said there are planned updates to labs that appear to be dated in terms of construction. Newcomb added that students this fall also will be able to enjoy the renovated student center on the North Metro campus and eventually a new media center.
“The student center is so modern and open now, it used to be that when you pulled up to the campus you didn’t know what front door to go into because it had a berm and a big brick wall,” Newcomb said. “The media center, we’ve doubled the size of that and it will probably be open in two to three months.”
He continued, “When the campus was originally opened in the fall of ’89, we had 353 students, but the [expectation] of the campus was that it would fill out to 2,000 [students]. At that time, our media center of a certain size was appropriate, but now we have a little below 3,000 [students].”
Newcomb added that the construction of the school’s health building has allowed the campus to accommodate a growing student population over the last 24 years.
“The student center and media center are important because students like a place where they can sit with other students, take off the bookbag and talk, or read a book, or look at their iPhone or their iPad and get ready for their next class,” Newcomb said.
He said enrollment for the fall semester will remain short of 10,000 students overall for the college’s eight campuses.
“We hit a peak about three years ago statewide when the economy first went south and people thought about going back to school and getting further training and education,” Newcomb said. “As the economy has improved and/or as individuals make the decision to do all the training they want to do right now, the effect is [enrollment] has tapered off a bit statewide, both with [The University System of Georgia and the Technical College System of Georgia].”
Newcomb said while the cost of enrollment has gone up due to state budget restraints, he also said the college remains a viable option for those looking to acquire credits to transfer to a university or to complete training for an associate degree or certification.
“We’re still the most affordable college compared to any,” Newcomb said. “We have 2,500 to 3,000 students in the pipeline who are taking transfer courses; we’ve got 45 degree-level two-year college degree courses that will transfer to the university system, so when people come to us they have options.”