Work on new LBWCC conference center set to start

Published 12:00 am Monday, June 4, 2007

A construction crew should be on site Monday to begin erecting the metal structure of the new conference center at the Greenville campus of Lurleen B. Wallace Community College.

&#8220Red iron is on site,” Dr. Ed Meadows, president of the Andalusia-based school, told members of the Greenville Rotary Club Thursday, sharing his annual progress report on the school, its activities and future.

Plans call for completion of the building's exterior, its basic slab and the utility infrastructure.

Passage of the $1.07 billion school construction bond issue Thursday will make available funding for completion.

&#8220We know that bill means a lot to Greenville and to Butler County,” he said, &#8220but it means an awful lot to us, too. It will provide us the money to complete the conference center. Our plan is to complete it this year and we look forward to that.”

The conference center, to be built adjacent to the new 20,000-square foot Technology Center on the Greenville Bypass site, will provide needed meeting space for both college and community events, meetings and seminars.

&#8220I can't say enough good things about the support we receive from the Greenville community,” he said. &#8220Whenever we ask for anything, you provide it. And city government has been wonderful in its support.”

That support has grown more critical in recent years. State funding remains based on fulltime enrollment figures from 1994. While the state formerly supplied 54 to 60 percent of its operating funds, that percentage has dropped to 33 percent.

&#8220We were a state supported school,” he said. &#8220Now, we're a state assisted school.” Even so, there will be no increase in tuition next year.

Meadows said ribbon cutting ceremonies for the technology center should be within the next two weeks, allowing both the college and the Butler County Commission for Economic Development to occupy its new quarters.

Though development of specialty training, dual enrollment, industry related programs are still in the discussion stages with Butler County Schools Superintendent Mike Looney, LBWCC is working hard on its mandated orientation class for all students and its Life Skills curriculum that coaches students on avenues to college success.

&#8220Our students come from all walks of life,” he explained. &#8220We get valedictorians and salutatorians, kids who barely graduated, students who passed their GED and students who enroll for non-degree credit courses.”

The orientation program helps students understand the college environment, teaches them how to select the proper classes, shows them what classes are best suited for their major field of study, explains how to save money, helps undecided students decide more quickly and makes certain they select a general course toward degree completion.

The life skills course addresses issues that prompt student dropout, provides good advice on time use and finances, study habits, building a positive attitude and molding self-confidence.

&#8220No one is more concerned about students more than we are,” he said.

He said student support at LBWCC &#8220ranks in the top 10 percent” of two-year schools in Alabama; praised local individuals, businesses and civic club scholarship donors for making that possible; acknowledged success of the Greenville Putting on the Ritz program likely surpassed the 25th anniversary celebration of the Dixon Center for the Performing Arts; added the sale of the National Guard Armory in Luverne, now a branch of LBWCC, should be completed in two weeks; and noted a ribbon cutting for the Child Development Center in Andalusia should occur this summer.

Jeff Adams, Jeddo Bell, Linda Horn and Calvin Poole III, all of Greenville, are on the school foundation's board. Horn, Bobby Rogers and Melvyn Stone are on the Greenville campus advisory council.