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Thursday, June 07, 2007

Lane college experiencing growth spurt

Lane College is thinking big these days.

The college has invested $10 million in three new construction projects - two residence halls and a dining hall - that will open this fall.

Lane is streaming its campus radio station, 98.7 FM WLCD (Wonderful Lane College Dragons) to listeners on the Internet.
And in the upcoming school year, school officials expect the student body to increase from 1,420 to an estimated 1,600.

President Wesley McClure said the historically black, private, Christian college will continue to expand not only in numbers but also in how it reaches and serves the community.

The Lane Evening Accelerated Program - known as LEAP - will add 100 students in the fall semester, McClure said.

The program began in the spring semester this year with 200 students. The college offered free tuition for the spring and summer semesters to the first 100 students who had never before attended a college or university.

"Many of the LEAP students made the honor roll and out-performed some of our regular students," McClure said. "They are more serious, and they brought a balance to the academic program that was sorely needed."

Students in the accelerated evening program choose from five courses of study - business, sociology, criminal justice, computer science and interdisciplinary studies.

The college offered competitive financial incentives to encourage enrollment in the new program, said Marla Pruitte, assistant vice president of evening and outreach programs.

"We've received so much positive feedback about the program," Pruitte said. "We just want to keep the word out there."

McClure said the college has begun to feel the financial impact of offering free tuition to such a large number of students.

Tuition and fees for a Lane College student are $3,810 per semester, according to college officials. Students can earn a bachelor of arts or bachelor of science degree.

"We're offering education to people who would not have had access to education otherwise," McClure said. "This is a community investment, and the community will see the benefit of this overtime."

An additional $2 million project, Tower Place, is set to open next spring. Tower Place will offer a luxury eating experience, a business center and a computer cafŽ for students and the community, McClure said.

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