TNCC Historic Triangle enrollment expected to blossom


Published: August 4, 2009

The Daily Press

Thomas Nelson Community College has conducted classes in various spaces around Williamsburg for a long time, but this fall it opens the first building on a permanent satellite campus there.

Tours are available to the public between now and Aug. 20. Classes start Aug. 22.

Future plans for the campus call for additional buildings if and when student enrollment demands it and state funds are available, said TNCC Historic Triangle Provost William Travis.

If trends hold, enrollment will continue to grow. Enrollment in classes conducted at the college’s Historic Triangle sites has steadily grown over the past three years, except for a slight drop from 738 students the spring semester of 2006 to 731 in the spring of 2007.

For the fall, 749 students were enrolled in 2006, 966 in 2007 and 1,117 in 2008.

In spring 2008, there were 850 students enrolled in classes, and that number rose to 1,102 this past spring. These numbers do not count students who are dual enrolled, which means they are high school students taking courses for college credit.

In the distant past, TNCC conducted evening classes in various places in the Williamsburg area. In the late 1990s, the college opened an administrative office in James City County and started renting classroom space at the Busch Corporate Center to conduct daytime classes.

TNCC officials and College Board members had long envisioned their own campus in the Historic Triangle area, but only recently received funding from the state legislature for the first building. In order to add more, the new building would have to be pushed to its capacity and the state legislature would need to find funding from strapped coffers.

“In my opinion, given today’s fiscal environment, it’s probably going to be a while,” Travis said. “But we’re going to try like mad to fill it and get on the list just as fast as we can.”

TNCC officials have set a target range of between 1,700 and 1,900 students enrolled in classes this fall, Travis said.

“We considered that total number, with dual enrollment, to be comparable to the 1,303 we had in the spring,” Travis said. “We had hoped for a little higher numbers in the last year. That’s the target range we’re shooting at, that we think would be a really good start.”

“We believe that a figure of around 2,500 students is probably a reasonable long-term goal with the current one building. Beyond that we’ll probably start stretching our capabilities again.”

Since registration at the site opened July 6, people have signed up for classes steadily, said Cynthia Callaway, TNCC’s vice president for institutional advancement.

College officials have mounted a public awareness campaign culminating in a grand opening and dedication on Sept. 25. Public tours will be conducted twice a week, while dignitaries and other groups will be scheduled at other times.

The purpose is to both ramp up community support and get the word out to all potential students in the greater Williamsburg area, Callaway said.

“We feel we haven’t even begun to tap the potential to serve the students in the James City County and Williamsburg area with the rented space that we had,” she said. “It’s a big deal for the community, for the ( Virginia) Community College System — the initiation of a brand new campus there in Williamsburg.

“We want to celebrate and have the community involved in the process.”

Want to go?

Public tours of TNCC’s Historic Triangle Campus, 4601 Opportunity Way, Williamsburg through Aug. 20:

  • 10 a.m. Wednesdays
  • 3:30 p.m. Thursdays
  • For information, call 253-4300



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