GTCC Jamestown campus aerial drawing

This drawing shows a couple of changes to GTCC's main campus in Jamestown. College trustees voted Thursday to add an elevator and stair tower (in blue) on the north side of Davis Hall. The green space directly above Davis Hall is the current location of the Welding Building. Trustees on Thursday approved demolition of that vacant building.

GREENSBORO — GTCC is looking at its second straight annual increase in enrollment after several rough years.

Interim president Gordon Burns told college trustees Thursday that GTCC had 11,178 students enrolled in its curriculum programs as of Wednesday. That's up 7 percent from the second week of classes a year ago.

Burns said the enrollment gain suggests that recent increases in marketing and advertising efforts at the state's third largest community college are paying off.

Burns also said the college has worked harder in the past two years to recruit students from Guilford County high schools. About half of this fall's enrollment increase is due to the growing popularity of dual-enrollment programs that let high school students earn both high school and GTCC credit. Those programs include the Middle Colleges on the GTCC campuses in Jamestown, Greensboro and High Point.

"We'd like to think that our message is getting out a little more," said George Ragsdale, a Jamestown banker who's chairman of the GTCC board.

GTCC lost about a quarter of its enrollment from 2012 to 2017 as the economy surged and more prospective students chose to work rather than take community college classes. But when GTCC's enrollment losses persisted, the college took several steps in 2017-18 to reverse that slide.

In fall 2018, the college saw curriculum enrollment grow by about 6 percent — the first increase in seven years.

GTCC's curriculum program includes courses that award academic credit toward associate's degrees, diplomas and certificates. GTCC also offers several other types of classes, including basic skills, workforce training and personal enrichment.

Here are other notes from GTCC's board meeting at the Union Square Campus in downtown Greensboro:

New president

Incoming GTCC president Anthony Clarke signed his appointment letter after Thursday's meeting. He'll start work Oct. 16.

Clarke — now the president of Southeastern Community College in Columbus County — will replace former GTCC president Randy Parker, who retired in July.

Repairs to Davis Hall

Trustees will spend $650,000 to attach a stair and elevator tower onto Davis Hall, an academic building on the Jamestown campus.

The tower had been part of a 2016 plan to renovate the 35-year-old building, but those improvements weren't carried out. College officials said Thursday they now want to build the tower because the Davis Hall elevator failed last week. 

College officials said the new stair and elevator tower will address several long-standing issues with Davis Hall. Among them: The now-broken elevator is too narrow to meet current federal Americans with Disabilities Act standards; students with mobility issues can't reach the third floor without an elevator; and the building's only stairway that reaches all three floors is accessible on the ground level only from outside the building.

To pay for the tower, the college will use savings from one completed construction project and will delay two other renovation projects.

The tower project will go up on the building's north side and take about nine months to complete. Classes will continue to be held in Davis during construction.

Demolition

Trustees signed off on a proposal Thursday to demolish the welding building that sits next to the Medlin Campus Center in Jamestown. The 6,430-square foot building has been vacant since the welding program moved to the new Center for Advanced Manufacturing earlier this year. The welding building site will be converted to a green space.

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Contact John Newsom at (336) 373-7312 and follow @JohnNewsomNR on Twitter.​

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