Trailer adds needed classrooms

Jessica Sasseen

It’s got that new classroom smell.

The scent is distinct and heavy — blanketing the air and demanding attention. New carpet, new tables, new chairs — new trailer.

The desks may not be traditional and the windows may be bare, but students and faculty are excited to have some relief from the crowding at the community college.

A new trailer has been settled next to the current facility in order to accommodate the growth.

“We have more students than classes, and this was a fairly fast way to acquire new classroom space,” Sherry Reid, interim dean of the community college, said.

The new addition houses 18 classes a week. Two classes, each holding 25 people, can be held at the same time. A wall divides the two separate rooms, and each room has two doors leading outside.

A combination of general education courses and developmental courses are held in the new building.

“Basically, we had 13 classrooms, one science lab, and 2,100 students,” said Barbara Johnston, coordinator of enrollment services for the community college. “We just had to have a few more rooms.”

There was originally opposition to the idea of a trailer on campus, Johnston said. But after seeing the windows, carpeting and individual heating and air conditioning, people seem to appreciate the new addition.

Since 2000, the community college has experienced a 46 percent increase in students, with enrollment jumping from 1,451 students to 2,132. Classes run from 8 a.m. until 8 p.m. on weekdays and are also held on Saturday.

Louisville freshman Faith Sea said some of her classes at the community college are very full while others only have about 15 people. She has algebra in the new trailer.

“I think it’s better outside (in the trailer),” Sea said. “You don’t have a lot of noise, and you’re not disturbed as much.”

Other measures have been taken to accommodate the extra bodies at the community college.

“We have scheduled classes early in the morning and late at night to accommodate the growth,” Provost Barbara Burch said. “This is just an effort to ensure we have enough space for everyone.”

To ease the crowding, some community college students attend Western classes at Bowling Green Technical College this semester.

“Literally, we’ve been functioning with very little space,” Johnston said. “We’ve even borrowed space. We teach classes anywhere we can find room, and this will allow us to take care of the students we already have.”

Other small improvements may be on the way.

Plans may be in the works to permanently expand the community college, but budget shortfalls have put those plans on hold.

“We’re going to be doing some work this spring and summer to try to improve areas down there and add some classrooms,” Burch said. “But the question to whether that’s going to be enough, I really don’t know.”

Reach Jessica Sasseen at [email protected]