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Published: Wednesday, 12/13/2006

College planning technology building

BY BENJAMIN ALEXANDER-BLOCH
BLADE STAFF WRITER

MONROE - Monroe County Community College is looking to establish new facilities to adapt to changing technologies, address Michigan's nursing shortage, and accommodate its own skyrocketing enrollment.

It is currently hoping to build a 60,000-square-foot Career Technology Center on its central campus that would answer these needs.

The $12 million to 15 million project must first receive state approval, then go to the college board of trustees to hire an architect, and finally return to the state for design approval and possible funding.

The state would likely provide 50 percent of the construction costs, with the college footing the rest of the bill, according to David Nixon, the college's president.

"One of the main goals is to keep up with advanced manufacturing as it is today," said Mr. Nixon, who noted that thousands of Ford Motor Co. employees have taken the college option for retraining.

The facility would house auto service facilities and robotic-welding, construction, technology, computer, and bio-technology labs.

"Creating this building would then allow us to remodel the East and West Technology buildings and the 1964-era industrial labs there," said Mr. Nixon.

The East and West Technology buildings currently house the industrial technology facilities that would be relocated to the new center.

"This would create needed classroom space and more room for health care programs to accommodate our nursing expansion," he said.

Last spring, the college began offering nursing-aid certification courses.

This fall, there is a new online program for registered-nurse certification.

And in January, the college is launching a licensed practical nursing program, which was approved last month by the Michigan State Board of Nursing and the college's board of trustees.

Mr. Nixon said the college is creating these programs because of the state's nursing shortage.

According to the Coalition of Michigan Organizations of Nursing, the state's demand for registered nurses is likely to exceed supply by 7,000 nurses in 2010, 18,000 nurses in 2015, and 30,000 nurses by 2020.

And because of these new nursing programs and higher enrollment figures, the college is in need of new classroom space.

The college reported its highest enrollment ever this fall with 4,368 students, and its previous enrollment record was set last fall, with 4,193 students.

The community college generates 56 percent of its operating budget from a 2.15-mill county levy. Twenty-five percent of its budget comes from student tuition, and 18 percent comes from state appropriations.

Contact Benjamin

Alexander-Bloch

at: babloch@theblade.com

or 419-724-6050.



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