Wow does time fly! It seems it was just last weekend that we graduated Iowa Central Community College's Class of 2011. Every year I ask myself, "Where has the summer gone?" Today we will be moving over 1,200 students into our residential halls and on Tuesday we will begin the 2011-2012 academic year.
As always, the summer flew by but we continue to have exciting news around our campuses. We don't have the final numbers but once again they indicate we will have an enrollment increase of around 5 percent. With this increase we will have had 36 consecutive semesters of enrollment growth. That's something that no other school in the nation can say they have done. This doesn't come easy. It comes from the hard work and team approach that our faculty and staff achieves each year in recruiting new students to the college. It also happens because of the outstanding support our faculty and staff give students. Students come to Iowa Central knowing they are going to receive a top-notch education from the best faculty members in the nation and the top-notch services from the best staff in the nation.
During this summer, we had many projects taking place to support the enrollment growth that we are facing for the 2011-2012 academic year. On the Fort Dodge campus we have become a "wireless campus" enabling students' Internet access all over college grounds. Also, we completed work on the third floor of the liberal arts building (formerly the library building) which added nine new classrooms and computer labs. These classrooms will have computers and other technology making them the best learning labs in education. At the Crimmins Center, we upgraded our welding and diesel technology lab space. In addition, we started a new auto restoration program, which required adding lab space and paint booths for that program. We also added a new building at that center that will house our dynamometer to test engines.
As we grew we have added a number of athletic programs and haven't added the facilities to support the top Junior College Athletic Program in the nation. So, thanks to our many great supporters, we raised money to build a state-of-the-art weight room to support our 21 athletic programs. We went from a approximately 1,000 square feet to a new space of 10,000 square feet with new equipment that ranks with the top National Collegiate Athletic Association athletic programs in the nation. After moving to the new weight room it provided additional space for our wrestling program and allowed us to add a much-needed second athletic training room that will support approximately 700 athletes, most of which come from our service area and the state of Iowa.
The most important happening this summer for the Fort Dodge campus was the gift from Tom and Phyllis Cairney of what used to be the Colonial Inn. During the upcoming year we will remodel that area and move our fine arts department across the street to some much needed additional space. This will allow that department to conduct more continuing education classes and allow students the additional studio space they need.
Our Webster City campus has seen new transformation. We moved some areas around to create a new administrative office area and provided students with a larger student lounge and success center for tutoring. This also allowed us to remodel some existing space into a new nursing classroom that has incorporated a new bed lab into the classroom. All of this was done because of the growth our Webster City Campus has seen over the past couple of years.
In Storm Lake we continue to upgrade that facility. Last year we concentrated on adding classrooms for our growing ESL program. This year we conducted major work on our heating and air systems.
It doesn't stop here. Over the next year we will be looking at many different additions to campus. This includes adding new facilities and remodeling existing space to support our continued growth. We also are discussing what new programs can be added to support our students and service area. Stay tuned to see what happens next and I guarantee it will be exciting.
Dr. Dan Kinney is president of Iowa Central Community College.