Columbia College hopes for enhancements due to increased enrollment

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COLUMBIA - After a 12.8 percent growth in enrollment this year, Columbia College is preparing a possible 5-year development plan that would update campus to accommodate more students.

The Columbia College Development Plan includes new residence halls, more parking and a student dining expansion.

Columbia College President Scott Dalrymple outlined his vision for the modifications in a letter to the city's Department of Community Development.

The Columbia City Council approved Monday night one of the first steps in addressing Columbia College's growth: the Columbia College East Subdivision replat. This land change will combine 24 lots on the east side of campus into one big lot to benefit future development.

Columbia College Public Relations Director Sam Fleury said the subdivision is independent of the Columbia College Development Plan. He said the plan will improve campus facilities.

"It is a five-year look at what we may be doing in the future with the campus," Fleury said.

The Columbia College dorms were full for the 2016-2017 academic year. Fleury said enrollment is growing at a steady rate.

"We're projecting more growth in the years to come," Fleury said. "Hence the need for some new additions and some new enhancements to the campus."

Fleury said there hasn't been a schedule established for the project, and a large part of the approval process will go through the college's board of trustees.

"It's a great opportunity to make the student experience even better," Fleury said. "We want to make sure that we're planning to meet the needs of our students, and this is the way to do it."

Cliff Jarvis, operations executive director for Columbia College, said he is looking forward to the development plan because of the college's enrollment increase.

"We've identified a need, and we're trying to figure out how to fill that need," he said.

Jarvis said there is no budget established yet for the project. The Columbia College Board of Trustees will identify funding sources.

"In some future meeting, they'll consider all of the costs and the benefits of those projects and if it makes sense, they'll give us approval and we'll move forward," Jarvis said.

He said he is most looking forward to the ways students could benefit from the enhancements.

"Seeing them on campus having fun and enjoying themselves and involved in the academic pursuits, it's a satisfying part of my job," Jarvis said.