Co-Lin leaders tout increase in enrollment

Published 8:34 pm Friday, September 3, 2010

Enrollment at Copiah-Lincoln Community College is up for thethird year in a row, and college officials said the numbers predictgood things for what’s to come.

“It’s like I said the other day, we’re about to start having somecapacity issues,” said College President Ronnie Nettles Thursdayduring the college’s monthly board of trustees meeting.

Board member Thelma Newsome updated the group on 2010 unauditednumbers as compared to 2009’s, which have been audited. Even if theaudited figures change some, there’s still a marked improvement,she said.

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“Even if we lose some, there’s still an increase on all ourcampuses,” she said.

At the Wesson campus, enrollment as of Thursday was at 2,411, upfrom 2009’s 2,183 by 228 students. The Natchez campus is up 110students at 978, compared to 868 in 2009. The Simpson campus is upfrom 580 in 2009 to 658 in 2010, an increase of 78.

“They’re bursting at the seams,” Newsome said. “But that’s a goodproblem to have.”

Board Chairman Eugene Bates said it’s a matter of teamwork that hashelped Co-Lin get better every year.

“I think the college administrators, staff, faculty and everyonethat’s been involved in making this happen is to be commended,” hesaid.

Nettles said generally once numbers are audited, they can drop asmuch as 5 percent or so. But with overall numbers up 13.54 percent,he said the figures are still encouraging.

“So what we have here is a realistic increase of 5 or 6 percent,”he said.

The board also discussed an agreement the school has come to withRegion 8 Mental Health Services to provide services for studentsand staff.

Nettles said in a strategic plan laid out for coming years, schooladministrators said finding a mental health arrangement was apriority since the school has not until recently had a way to dealwith students in crisis situations.

In a previous discussion, Copiah County Trustee Steve Amos, who ison the board at Region 8, had said they might be able toassist.

Nettles said after talks with Region 8, there will be aprofessional on campus to help in the effort a few days a week. Hesaid students and faculty will also have access to a 24-hour crisishotline.

“The staff will also be provided with suicide prevention training,”he said. “We’re very excited about this.”

Officials also said the pre-bid conference on a new men’s dormitorywill be held Sept. 10, and the bid deadline will be Sept. 21. Theproject, which will be funded by state-appropriated bond money, isexpected to be an almost $3 million project, Nettles said.

The dormitory will hold 56 students and a resident adviser, and isnecessary as the college begins to phase out Ellzey Hall, which hasbeen deteriorating through wear and tear over recent years.