Every year at this time I ask myself the same question "Where did the summer go"? This year is no different as today is the start of another exciting year at Iowa Central Community College. This year we are seeing another record enrollment and will have a little more than 1,300 students living on campus. Even with the additional housing of the Woodruff facilities, the demand for housing has exceeded availability. La'James International College has stepped up to provide housing for 24 students. We cannot thank Cindi Becher and the La'James staff enough for working with us.
The busy year starts with our move-in today. From 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. the new and returning students will move into their new residence for the next nine months. We hope the community will welcome these students and their parents as you see them shopping and dining in our community.
We keep these students busy with activities to assist them in their transition to college. We have a full two weeks of activities planned to get the students acquainted to the campus and also get them acquainted with the community.
The highlight of these activities begins on Monday as we host PLAYFAIR on campus. PLAYFAIR is one of the most popular campus programs for new student orientation. It's entertainment. It's fun. It's the perfect way for new students to make new and lasting friendships. It is an experience that our students will never forget as it is entertainment but also helps students learn more about team building. It also addresses concerns of retention, multicultural and alcohol awareness. We are excited to try this new event during our first week of campus.
Then on Tuesday will be the annual Doughnuts with Dan. As classes begin, students are met by Iowa Central Community College staff and given a doughnut and a bottle of water along with many coupons that are provided by our local businesses. It is also a great way for our staff to assist students on their first day of class by giving directions and a friendly smile letting them know we are here to get their year started off right.
With all of the job opportunities that are available in the region, we have added another community event to showcase what Fort Dodge offers. Working with the city of Fort Dodge and the Parks and Recreation Department, on Aug. 30 Iowa Central students will experience the Rosedale Rapids Aquatic Center with comedian Nick Pike from 7 to 8 p.m. and then an open swim from 8 to 10 p.m.
Thank you to Olde Boston's, the city of Fort Dodge and other community partners for again sponsoring a Back-to-School Bash on Sept. 5 for our students. This event showcases our welcoming community.
Not only do we have many activities on the Fort Dodge campus but also on the Storm Lake and Webster City campuses. We will have our welcome back barbecue for the students in Webster City center on Wednesday. Iowa Central students in Storm Lake are going to enjoy snacks and soda on the first week of class and faculty will host ice breaker activities with movie tickets and T-shirts as prizes.
As the summer ends it also means the beginning of the last planned construction projects of this year. On the Fort Dodge and Webster City campuses we are in the first phase of installing new campus signage to help you find your way around. Phase I includes large illuminated signs at both entrances; kiosks with way-finding maps; and small directional signage. It should be completed by Sept 30. On the Webster City campus we are adding a new directional sign to assist students and visitors with getting around there.
Construction has begun on the New Triton Cafe to be opened fall 2013. The building will be a 30,000-square-foot dining and conference facility. There will be times during construction that parking will be inconvenient. It is anticipated that we will have additional parking available by October as part of this project. We thank you for your understanding and patience.
Nursing students attending Storm Lake will benefit from updated nursing classrooms. This completes the upgrades to all our nursing classrooms as we prepare the nurses of tomorrow. In addition, Storm Lake completed the second phase of the upgrade of our heating and cooling system.
All of these sites introduced the new Triton Network classroom. The network allows Iowa Central to teach any class from on site and deliver it to the other sites; providing us the ability to enhance student learning opportunities.
The end of summer and the beginning of fall is always an exciting time for Iowa Central Community College and I look forward to personally meeting the students to welcome them back.
Dr. Dan Kinney is president of Iowa Central Community College.