A nationally-recognized planning firm presented strategies for accommodating anticipated enrollment growth on Blinn College’s Brazos County campuses at the College’s Board of Trustees workshop today in Bryan.
BOKA Powell, a Dallas-based architectural design and planning firm, presented immediate, short- and long-term solutions for the College, which posted record enrollment this fall. Blinn, which has experienced 31.1 percent enrollment growth since 2006, registered 18,413 total students during the recently-concluded Fall semester and 12,883 on its Brazos County campuses.
BOKA Powell projected that Blinn’s Brazos County campuses could see enrollment exceed 15,000 by 2017 and approach 20,000 by 2025.
“These discussions create a platform for our future success,” said Dr. Harold Nolte, Blinn College district president. “Students from across the state are choosing a Blinn College education, and these conversations will help us determine how best to provide the affordable educational excellence they seek.”
To immediately generate more classroom space, BOKA Powell recommended central scheduling software that could allow more efficient use of classroom space and advocated utilizing 10 rooms that were dedicated to other purposes. The firm also recommended renovations to the College Park Center (CPC) Building that could transform a single large classroom into two moderate-sized classrooms more in tune with the smaller, more personal class sizes Blinn offers.
BOKA Powell recommended a redesign of the Bryan campus student center to create more informal study and food service space, and suggested that non-student functions could be relocated to temporary buildings until an additional “big box” location such as a large retail space could be leased or purchased and converted into classroom space. Community colleges throughout the nation are finding such spaces to be economical while providing convenient locations for students.
As a long-term solution, the firm recommended building a new building on the existing Villa Maria Road campus or building on new land.
Blinn’s primary campus in Brazos County is located on Villa Maria Road in Bryan, with satellite workforce training locations on Post Office St. and F.M. 60. The College also offers Health Science programs at the Texas A&M Health Science Center on State Highway 47.
BOKA Powell’s growth projections were based upon Blinn’s strong academic reputation and its partnerships with Texas A&M, Sam Houston State and Texas State universities, the University of Texas and the University of Houston. The Transfer Enrollment at Texas A&M (TEAM) Program, a unique co-enrollment partnership between Blinn and Texas A&M, recently received the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board’s “Recognition of Excellence,” and Blinn’s partnership with the Texas A&M College of Engineering as it embarks on its goal of 25,000 engineering students by 2025 will only strengthen Blinn enrollment.
The continued growth of Bryan-College Station and the development of the Research Valley were also cited as key factors in Blinn’s projected growth, even as the College has proven unique among community colleges in attracting students from across the state. Blinn students came from 1,533 zip codes last Fall, drawing significant numbers from Houston, San Antonio, Austin and Dallas-Fort Worth.
“We’re at an exciting juncture in Blinn College’s history,” said Sylvia McMullen, president of Brazos County campuses. “Our partnerships with Texas A&M and the Bryan-College Station community are tremendous assets as we explore new opportunities in providing our students an outstanding education.”
Founded in 1883, Blinn has the highest transfer rate in the nation and its tuition and fees average about one-third the cost of the same classes at most Texas four-year public universities. In addition to its campuses in Brenham, Bryan, Schulenburg and Sealy, Blinn teaches online courses, dual credit for high school and prepares students for quick employment through its workforce education, technical training and vocational education programs. For enrollment information and to learn about financial aid opportunities, visit: www.blinn.edu.
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