Traverse City Record-Eagle

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March 25, 2013

NMC 10-year vision shows growth in technical education

TRAVERSE CITY — Northwestern Michigan College hopes to recruit hundreds more international students, build new student housing, and add more space for technical education over the next decade.

The community college’s master plan, recently approved by its board of trustees, outlines the physical vision for its observatory and three campuses: the Front Street campus, Aero Park Drive and the University Center on Cass Street.

NMC hopes to multiply its current number of 17 international students to a total of 250 students in five years. Recruiting efforts will focus on NMC’s specialty offerings of aviation, robotics, and water studies that often draw lucrative salaries, said Vicki Cook, vice president for finance and administration.

“When you are recruiting international students, you have to focus on what is your uniqueness,” she said.

International students would bring diversity to the NMC campus not known for its mix of ethnicity. Foreign students, ineligible for federal student loans, usually pay full-price, out-of-state tuition dollars — $212 per credit hour compared to $85. Even so, community college is still a much better deal than a four-year university, Cook said.

“They get to know us and we get to know them, and they can take their experience back to their country, too,” she said.

Depending on the need, NMC would invest up to $26.5 million for new housing near the Oleson Center to replace three aging apartment building. Capacity would jump from 138 to 300 students, the master plan showed.

Academic buildings on the central campus generally would remain the same size, while instructional facilities for aviation, engineering technology, and automotive services on Aero Park Drive could grow by as much as 76,000-square feet. Renovation was recommended for Osterlin Library, as well as the physical education and fine arts buildings.

A top priority is to renovate and more-than-triple the size of West Hall. The 47-year-old building formerly served as a dormitory and now houses a radio station, the student newspaper, administrative offices, a cafeteria, student services, counseling, and a bookstore.

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