Monday, 15 July 2024

Community colleges start spring session

 

Both Yuba Community College's Clear Lake Campus and Mendocino College's Lake Center were back in session Monday, with campus deans reporting that attendance numbers look strong.


Bryon Bell, dean of the Clear Lake Campus, said that enrollment for the semester so far appears to be up from fall semester. Spring semester attendance is usually lighter than fall, he noted, but the numbers show 7 percent more units enrolled and a 7 percent higher head count than in fall.


He also noted the number of units enrolled is about 11 percent higher than this time last year, with the actual student head count up 13 percent, which he said are good trends for the school.


On Monday Bell said there was just over 700 students enrolled for the semester, and that he expects that number will be between 900 to 1,000 once everybody's settled in.


Enrollment was still under way on the first day of class, he said. “We've got pretty long lines going out the door today.”


There are several reasons for increased attendance, said Bell. Fire, he said the school's counselors have been successfully recruiting students.


“With the fees staying at the $20 per unit, that's helping as well,” he said. “I think people are seeing us as a good educational bargain.”


That's in contrast to the University of California and California State System tuition costs, which continue to edge higher, he said.


CSU's Web page, www.calstate.educ, reports that the system now charges students $339 per unit, while the UC's systemwide fees are $6,141 annually, according to www.universityofcalifornia.edu.


Bell noted that in his four and a half years as dean he's watched the college's population growing increasingly younger, with more students pursuing their associates degrees in order to transfer to four-year universities.


In addition to those trends, Bell said the school's culinary program, led by Chef Robert Cabreros, is drawing an increasing number of students, as well as visitors who come to enjoy the food at the school's restaurant.


The culinary classes are so popular, in fact, that Bell said they're already full and closed to further enrollment.


On the other side of the lake, in Lakeport, Mark Rawitsch, dean of Mendocino College's Lake Center, said he didn't have exact numbers yet for the semester's enrollment but that, like Yuba College, Mendocino College is seeing a general trend of increased enrollments and younger transfer students.


Popular classes at the Lake Center are general education courses, Rawitsch said -- math, psychology, science, political science, English, computer science and anthroplogy.


He estimates that the college's entire enrollment is up about 10 percent, with a total systemwide enrollment of 3,500 students, including 900 full-time.


Mendocino College's graduation is scheduled for May 24, with Yuba's spring graduation planned for May 25.

 


Colleges begin pursuing bond projects


Both colleges received voter approval on bond measures this past November. The bonds will help upgrade current facilities throughout the two college systems as well as fund new building projects.


Bell said Yuba is current seeking applicants for its Measure J bond oversight committee. That group, he said, will include a business representative, an active member of a senior citizens organization, a taxpayer organization member, a college student, a member of a college support organization, and two members at large. The college board of trustees will make the appointments, he said.


Those individuals, he said, will help review expenditures from the $190 million general obligation bond to ensure it meets Proposition 39 limitations and the language of Measure J.


The college reports that the committee must meet at least annually, but not more than quarterly, and issue regular reports of its activities and findings. The committee would report expenditure of bond funds to the college district's board of trustees and to the general public.


The college's district covers eight counties, with other campuses in Marysville and Woodland, and new outreach facilities planned in Sutter and Colusa Counties as part of the facilities bond.


Bell said he expects one or two of the committee's members will come from Lake County, and that meetings will begin this summer. The group also will help make decisions about projects and timelines, he said.


The district hopes to sell its first set of bonds, in May, Bell said, which will give them the money by June 2008 to begin remodeling current structures on the various campuses and pay off the college's portable buildings.


The Clear Lake Campus, which now operates out of portables, has a building project on the board – a 30,000 square foot, multi-story facility that Bell said will be home to a number of school departments and services, including the culinary lab and student services.


Bell said he expects that ground will be broken sometime in either 2009 or 2010 on that building.


At Mendocino College, the district closed its oversight committee applications on Jan. 19, said Rawitsch.


One of the projects included in Mendocino's $67.5 million bond is a permanent home and new building for its Lake Center, currently in rented space on Parallel Drive.


“This year we're starting the process for site selection,” Rawitsch said, with the plan being to find a site by year's end.


Once the site is chosen and purchased, Rawitsch said it will be a matter of receiving matching funds from the state government.


Rawitsch estimated that the Lake Center project will last a minimum of five to six years if everything goes well.


The library project on the main campus in Ukiah also is starting now, said Rawitsch. He estimates that project will follow a similar timeline to the Lake Center, possibly opening its doors in 2011.


For an application or for more information about Yuba College's bond oversight committee, contact the Office of the Vice Chancellor of Administrative Services, (530) 741-6800. Applications are due by 5 p.m. Feb. 8.


On the Web: Yuba Community College District, www.yccd.edu; Mendocino Community College District's Measure W site, www.mendocino.edu/tc/pg/4507/measure_w_bond_.html.


E-mail Elizabeth Larson at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


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