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JCC open house invites prospective students to tour dorm

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Prospective students and their family members will be able to tour a dorm suite at Jefferson Community College before the construction of the dormitory building is complete. The campus-wide open house on Friday will include a tour of the model six-person suite along with other presentations about becoming a student at the college.

“I am so excited for this project,” which has been in the works for several years, said JCC President Carole A. McCoy. “I’ve watched the construction outside my window every single day.”

“It is different when you actually come in and see where students are going to live and where they’ll be learning,” she said.

The walls and ceilings of the dormitory’s hallways are incomplete but the model suite’s finished floors, painted walls and fully furnished and decorated rooms show what the dorms will look like on move-in day.

The open house will begin at 9 a.m. with registration in the Walker Instructional Dining Room in the Jules Center. Ms. McCoy and Vice President for Students Betsy D. Penrose will welcome visitors with a presentation at 9:30 a.m., and visitors will be introduced to the residence halls at 9:45 a.m. with Dean of Students Ronald C. Shidemantle.

At 10 a.m., guests will have their choice of attending two informational sessions: a student panel on “A day in the life of a college student,” or a financial services program. An academic and student services fair will be held from 10:45 to 11:30 a.m. and the campus tour will be held from 11:30 a.m. to noon followed by lunch at 12:30 p.m.

Ms. McCoy said the construction is on schedule and the entire dormitory should be ready to open Aug. 11; students are scheduled to move in Aug. 22.

Karen J. Freeman, JCC’s marketing & public relations officer, said acceptance into the dorms right now is first come, first served. The college already has received 160 applications for prospective residency in the 98,000-square-foot, 294-bed facility.

Students have the option of living in a six-person suite with two single and two double rooms, a five-person suite with one double room and four single rooms or a four-person suite with two double rooms. All suites have a bathroom, a kitchenette with a microwave, sink and refrigerator, and a living room with a couch, chairs and a table. The fully furnished bedrooms come with a desk, wardrobe, dresser and bed for each roommate.

Mr. Shidemantle said the college worked with interior designers and received feedback from current students about all furniture in the dorms to create a living space for the freshman and sophomore students. Ms. McCoy said the school also worked with other community colleges to learn about dorm life at their schools.

“We certainly had all the advantages of looking at other community colleges’ experiences,” Ms. McCoy said. She said JCC officials want to create a welcoming environment for incoming students.

Ms. McCoy said the school is in the process of choosing eight resident advisors to work and live in the dormitories.

The advisors “will be trained to be more than just safety program leaders but student leaders,” Mr. Shidemantle said.

Over the course of the year, school administrators also will be looking to adjust hours for the security staff, food service and library to accommodate the changing culture on campus.

Jack N. Donato, associate professor of computer science and Faculty Student Association president, said security at the dorm will be a top priority, with the entrance monitored 24 hours a day. He said security staff will know who is coming into the dorms and when.

The dormitory, East Hall, will include wireless internet, cable in each room, free laundry machines on every floor, 24-hour campus security and electronic access cards to enter through the main entrance and each suite.

There also will be two classroom spaces in East Hall. And behind the dormitory will be a common area where Ms. McCoy said students will be able to play outdoor sports, lounge and enjoy nice weather.

Ms. McCoy said the opening of the residence hall will allow for a new aspect of campus life to grow. She said having more students on campus and not just commuters could increase extracurricular activity participation.

“I wish the whole thing was done so you could see the halls, the classrooms, but nope, we’re this far,” Ms. McCoy said. “We are excited and we’re happy to have people going in.”

For more information or to register for the tour, call the college at 786-6567.

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