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Chesapeake College's new look passes student test

Posted on Thursday, September 07, 2006

Chesapeake College students Davon Heath and Heather Sterling play a game of air hockey in the Caroline Student Center between classes on Monday 

WYE MILLS – Chesapeake College opened the new academic year Monday sporting a new look that met with immediate student approval.

"I like everything about this building," said Tara Johnson of Easton, referring to the $6 million renovation of the Caroline Student Center that students began to use in earnest yesterday. "It´s spacious and modern, yet welcoming at the same time. I´ll probably spend eight to nine hours on campus two days a week this semester, so I´m happy to have a place to take a break from the classroom. Last year, I hung out in the library, but the atmosphere there isn´t the same as it is here. The library is a great place to study or work on the computer, but this is a place to relax and socialize."

There were plenty of students on campus to investigate the student center. Chesapeake set another new record for opening-day enrollment, with the 2,559 students registered as of noon Monday accounting for 732.87 Full-Time Equivalents (FTEs). That total is 1.7 percent higher than last year´s then-record 720.93 opening-day FTEs, with 30 credit hours equaling one FTE.

As of noon yesterday, Chesapeake´s headcount enrollment was running 2.0 percent higher than last year´s 2,504 opening-day students.

"We´ve been running slightly ahead of last year´s pace for most of the summer," said Dr. Richard Midcap, Chesapeake´s vice president for student success and enrollment services. "We anticipate our headcount and FTE enrollments both rising slightly over the next several days, mostly in the evening where we still have plenty of seats.

"Most of our day classes between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. are at or near capacity, but we still have seats in a lot of our 8:30 a.m. or late-afternoon classes," added Dr. Midcap. "It´s still possible for a student to come in and get a full-time schedule – it just takes a close review of our schedule with an academic advisor to take advantage of the openings."

Many Chesapeake students spent their free time Monday taking advantage of the renovated Caroline Center´s game room, television lounge and expanded cafeteria.

"I´ll definitely be spending some time in here," said freshman Davon Heath of Easton. "I´m playing basketball this year, so it´ll be good to have a place to chill out between classes and practice."

Chesapeake College President Stuart M. Bounds said he was pleased with the initial student response to the new Caroline Center, which was renovated with a combination of state and local funding.

"Our counties were extremely supportive of this renovation, as they have been with all the construction that´s been taking place on campus over the past several years," said Dr. Bounds. "I think everyone was particularly enthusiastic about this project because so much of the center´s space is dedicated to student use."

Amy Childs, Chesapeake´s director of student life, said many students included a visit to the center on their opening day agendas.

"We´ve had a steady stream of students throughout the day. Even those with tight schedules at least stopped by to take a look around," Childs said. "Everyone seems very pleased with the renovation. Our returning students are especially impressed with the center. Several have commented that they appreciate the sophisticated look and feel."

One such student was Shanarah Dolan of Galena.

"This is a huge improvement for the campus. I´m very impressed with the building and furnishings," Dolan said. "I live far away from campus and have long breaks between my classes, so this center will make my free time here so much better. I can watch television, play games, meet friends or have something to eat in a beautiful location."


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