College campuses find homes in unusual places.DAYTON, Ohio Dayton is a city in southwestern Ohio, United States. It is the county seat and largest city of Montgomery County. As of the 2005 census estimate, the population of Dayton was 158,873. (AP) -- Community colleges are branching out to old factories, libraries and YMCAs to avoid expensive new construction, attract new students and serve those in out-of-the-way places.
"You're seeing a lot more outreach to reach students, to be more available to them in places where they work," said Claire VanUmmersen, vice president of the Center for Effective Leadership at the American Council on Education.
Recycling existing buildings also saves money for colleges at a time when many face declining funding from state governments. And outlying areas can be a gold mine of untapped students as colleges compete with each other to increase enrollment.
Students are attending college at an abandoned steel mill in Pennsylvania and at an inn next to a historic canal in Ohio. They share digs with a small public library and an insurance agency in Nebraska, where students soon also will take classes at an ice cream parlor Ice cream parlors are places that sell ice cream and frozen yogurt to consumers. Ice cream is normally sold in two varieties in these stores: soft-serve ice cream (normally with just chocolate, vanilla, and "twist", a mix of the two), and hard-packed, which has an assortment of .
There are about 1,000 public community colleges in the United States United States, officially United States of America, republic (2005 est. pop. 295,734,000), 3,539,227 sq mi (9,166,598 sq km), North America. The United States is the world's third largest country in population and the fourth largest country in area. . Of the 530 that responded to a 2005 survey by the American Association of Community Colleges, about 60 percent have multiple campuses, some with as many as 12. About 40 percent offer courses at prisons, 20 percent at religious institutions and 11 percent in shopping centers.
Some colleges are spreading to nontraditional places to handle a surge of students.
Enrollment is climbing in California, Texas and Florida because of population growth and increases in the number of immigrants. Conversely, VanUmmersen said, sluggish economies, layoffs and population shifts in many Midwestern states are stifling student growth.
Sinclair Community College expects its branches at two YMCAs in the Dayton suburbs to shave as much as $1.7 million from the estimated $4.2 million cost of constructing new buildings at or near the downtown campus. School officials believe the branches will attract new students who may be reluctant to commute downtown, pay for parking and then walk a distance to classes.
Mid-Plains Community College in Nebraska set up a classroom in the Broken Bow Public Library so students could avoid the hour commute to the main campus in North Platte.
The branch campus also holds classes at a high school, in church parishes and at the Custer County Historical Museum and will soon offer a computer class at an ice cream parlor because it has wireless Internet access.
The move into the neighborhoods also increases the comfort level of students who often are older and have been away from school for years.
In June, Northampton Community College in Bethlehem, Pa., opened a branch at an abandoned Bethlehem Steel plant built 93 years ago.
Many people in the surrounding working-class neighborhood, a constellation of row houses, worked at the mill. According to census figures, four of every five adults age 25 and older don't have college degrees. About one-third of the residents live below the poverty level, and one in four depends on public transportation.
Northampton spokeswoman Heidi Butler said the area fell on hard times after the mill went dark in the mid-1990s but is being revitalized.
"It is an area we felt was underserved," she said. "We felt it was important to be there."
New places mean a new look for the schools.
Students at the Northampton branch study in a six-story, 1940s-era office building overlooked by smokestacks and a hulking hulk·ing also hulk·y
Unwieldy or bulky; massive.
big and ungainly
Adj. 1. blast furnace.
There are 14 classrooms on each floor and an occasional private shower from the structure's steel-making days. A marble foyer, high ceilings, large windows, wooden floors and paneling create a traditional setting. Corridors and small offices that created a mazelike interior and made sense in the past are being opened up to create more classroom space.
Nancy Marrero, 24, who is studying to earn her high school diploma A high school diploma is a diploma awarded for the completion of high school. In the United States and Canada, it is considered the minimum education required for government jobs and higher education. An equivalent is the GED. , said the industrial setting isn't exactly what she envisioned when she was attending high school in Camden, N.J.
"I saw colleges that were way different," she said. "But it doesn't bother me. As long as the people of the school help me get my GED GED
1. general equivalency diploma
2. general educational development
GED (US) n abbr (Scol) (= general educational development) → , that's what matters." She hopes to continue her education to get a degree in accounting.
At Broken Bow's library, about 10 students take classes in the carpeted meeting room, where plastic stackable chairs and fold-up tables allow for multiple configurations.
In Valentine, Neb., deep in the heart of cattle country, the MidPlains branch campus shares a building with an insurance agency, in space formerly used as a bookstore and a veterinarian veterinarian /vet·er·i·nar·i·an/ (vet?er-i-nar´e-an) a person trained and authorized to practice veterinary medicine and surgery; a doctor of veterinary medicine.
n. office. A classroom outfitted with computers and satellite hookup hookup,
n in the Trager method of therapy, the practitioner enters into a meditative state along with the patient, which allows him or her to work more intuitively and to feel subtle changes in the patient's movement and tissue texture. now sits where there once were unfinished walls and a concrete floor with an open drain.
Enrollment has doubled since the branch opened two years ago. About 30 students take the classes, which include nursing, emergency rescue and the culture of the Lakota Indians.
Colleges must avoid the pitfalls of locating branches in low-visibility areas where they might not be noticed or in places that could create a negative or lingering unwanted image--such as where a company went out of business, said Sinclair spokesman Gary Honnert. And renovating old buildings can result in unexpected expenses.
The surroundings are upscale at the Inn at Roscoe Village, where a new branch of Central Ohio Technical College Central Ohio Technical College (COTC) is a two-year technical college situated in Newark, Ohio. It is on the same campus as Ohio State University-Newark. COTC offers associate's degrees and certification programs in a number of career fields including business, computers, opened in Coshocton. The 50-room hotel, built to house tourists visiting the nearby Ohio & Erie Canal, has a plush lobby, chandeliers and three fireplaces.
The hotel is being renovated to house more classrooms and science labs. The hotel kitchen may be used to teach culinary arts. The branch is expected to be fully operational by the fall of 2007.
Dorothy Skowrunski, campus administrator, said the branch is a godsend god·send
Something wanted or needed that comes or happens unexpectedly.
[Alteration of Middle English goddes sand, God's message : goddes, genitive of God, God for many local students, who would have had to drive at least an hour to attend college elsewhere.
"It's a miracle here for people to go to college," she said.